About the Real-Time In-Situ Soil Monitoring for Agriculture network metadata

Information on the location, installation and setup procedures of the Real-Time In-Situ Soil Monitoring for Agriculture (RISMA) network in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

Introduction

A soil moisture monitoring network was established in 2010 and 2011 as a collaboration between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).  There are fifteen stations in Manitoba near the towns of Carman-Elm Creek, in the Sturgeon Creek watershead, and the town of Carberry which were established between 2011 and 2015.  In Saskatchewan there are four stations near the town of Kenaston while there are six stations in Ontario.  Five of the Ontario stations are near the town of Casselman, while one station is located in the city of Ottawa.  Additional information on the stations and their setup is located in the following sections of this document.

The stations were setup as part of the Sustainable Agriculture Environmental Systems (SAGES) project titled Earth Observation Information on Crops and Soils for Agri-Environmental Monitoring in Canada.  The stations themselves are called the RISMA network: Real-Time In-Situ Soil Monitoring for Agriculture Network.  The data obtained from the stations is used to calibrate and validate remote sensing and modelled soil moisture products.  The data from the stations is available to the public through a web portal located at soil monitoring stations.

Data Usage

The data from the stations is available for use under the Open Government Licence – Canada.  A copy of the terms are below and were retrieved from the Open Government website on 11 March 2019.

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Data Quality

The data undergoes a quality control process where suspect data is flagged.  Detailed description of the quality control process is located in the Data Flag sections.  However, it is strongly suggested users preform additional quality control on the data before use.

Contact Information

If there are any questions regarding the RISMA project or to request RISMA data prior to 2013, please contact:

Kurt Gottfried
GIS Specialist
E-mail: kurt.gottfried@agr.gc.ca
Phone: 204-430-5140

If there are questions regarding the RISMA project in Ontario, please contact: 

Amanda Halstead, MSc.
Remote Sensing Technician
E‐mail: amanda.halstead@agr.gc.ca
Phone: 613‐694‐2513 

Manitoba Real-time In-situ Soil Monitoring for Agriculture (RISMA) Network Metadata

The monitoring stations in the Manitoba network were established in three phases.  Nine stations were installed near the towns of Carman and Elm Creek, located southwest of the city of Winnipeg, in 2011.  Three other stations were installed in the Sturgeon Creek watershed in 2013, located immediately northwest of Winnipeg (Table 1, Figure 1 and Figure 2).  In 2015, three additional stations were installed at the Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre (CMCDC) off-site field, northwest of the town of Carberry within the Assiniboine River basin (Figure 3).

The stations in Carman-Elm Creek area are situated in the La Salle and Boyne River watersheds.  These watersheds are part of the larger Red River basin.  The area is characterized by a distinct soil texture divide between heavy clays and clay loams to the east, and lighter sandy and sandy loam soils to the west.  Topography is generally flat; influenced by lacustrine deposition.

Two of the Sturgeon Creek watershed locations are located near the town of Warren while the third station is located immediately outside Winnipeg near the town of Rosser.  The Sturgeon Creek watershed is part of the larger Assiniboine River basin.  Topography is mainly flat, consisting of imperfect to poorly drained lacustrine clay and clay loam textured soils.  Glacial till loamy soils occur in the more northern area of the watershed where ridges and swales are the more common landform.  These areas are part of Canada's Prairie/Boreal Plain Ecozone and were chosen to capture the diverse soil moisture conditions in the Manitoba portion of the Red River and lower Assiniboine River basins.

The three stations installed northwest of the town of Carberry fall within the Assiniboine River basin.  Soils at this site are primarily sandy textured deltaic deposits on slightly undulating landscapes.  The Assiniboine Delta aquifer provides a source of irrigation water for potato crops that are grown extensively in this area along with cereals, canola, corn and soybeans.  The stations were installed to support irrigation studies at CMCDC.

The stations are located at the edge of annually cropped agricultural fields with the soil moisture sensors installed within the field, about 6 to 30 m away from the edge.  The fields are seeded in May and harvested in August through to September, leaving the fields fallow for the remainder of the year; often snow covered between December and April.  Annual crops which are typically grown in this area include cereals, canola, corn, soybeans and edible beans.  The Manitoba stations record precipitation with a tipping bucket rain gauge as well as real dielectric constant, soil moisture and soil temperature using HydraProbe sensors at surface (0‐5 cm), 5 cm, 20 cm, 50 cm and 100 cm depths.  Three HydraProbe sensors, or replicas, are installed at each depth.  This replication provides a measurement of spatial variability in soil moisture, and redundancy in the event of sensor malfunction.  To complement the existing soils data, the stations in the Manitoba network are also equipped with meteorological sensors such as air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and wind direction.

Station Location

The stations are located in three main areas: near the towns of Carman and Elm Creek (Figure 1), northwest of Winnipeg (Figure 2) and northwest of Carberry (Figure 3).  The location description of individual stations can be found in Table 1.

Table 1: RISMA station locations in Manitoba.
Station ID Legal Land Description* Easting Northing Latitude Longitude
MB1 SW 13‐07‐05 W1 570924 5490434 49.56234 −98.01924
MB2 SW 22‐06‐04 W1 577265 5482737 49.49250 −97.93374
MB3 SW 33‐06‐04 W1 575556 5485725 49.51951 −97.95649
MB4 SE 07‐08‐04 W1 573041 5498688 49.63609 −97.98813
MB5 SW 04‐08‐04 W1 575222 5497102 49.62145 −97.95781
MB6 NW 21‐08‐04 W1 575084 5503458 49.67877 −97.95957
MB7 SE 24‐08‐05 W1 571640 5501962 49.66552 −98.00762
MB8 NW 17‐09‐04 W1 573335 5511606 49.75253 −97.98237
MB9 NW 25‐08‐05 W1 570393 5505108 49.69462 −98.02397
MB10 NE 35-11-01 E1 618431 5537198 49.97536 −97.34829
MB11 SW 20-13-01 W1 602004 5551981 50.11131 −97.57337
MB12 NE 13-14-2 W1 600078 5560695 50.18998 −97.59801
MB13 SE-24-11-15W1 472221 5531210 49.93262 −99.38707
MB14 SE-24-11-15W1 472064 5531265 49.93310 −99.38926
MB15 SE‐24‐11‐15W1 471858 5531268 49.93312 −99.39213

*QTR‐SEC‐TWP‐RGE

Easting and Northing are in NAD 83 CSRS UTM Zone 14N.

Figure 1: Map of the RISMA stations in the Carman area, Manitoba. Easting and Northing are in UTM Zone 14N.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Map of the RISMA stations in the Carman area, Manitoba. Easting and Northing are in UTM Zone 14N.

  • MB8:
    • Easting 573335
      Northing: 5511606
      NW 17-09-04-W1
  • MB9:
    • Easting: 570393
      Northing: 5505108
      NW 25-08-05-W1
  • MB6:
    • Easting: 575084
      Northing: 5503458
      NW" 21-08-04-W1
  • MB7:
    • Easting: 571640
      Northing: 5501962
      SE 24-08-05-W1
  • MB4:
    • Easting: 573041
      Northing: 5498688
      SE 07-08-04-W1
  • MB5:
    • Easting: 575222
      Northing: 5497102
      SW 04-08-04-W1
  • MB1:
    • Easting: 5702923
      Northing: 5490433
      SW 13-07-05-W1
  • MB3:
    • Easting: 575556
      Northing: 5485725
      SW 33-06-04-W1
  • MB2:
    • Easting: 577265
      Northing: 5482737
      SW 22-06-04-W1
Figure 2: RISMA station locations in the Sturgeon Creek Watershed, Manitoba. Easting and Northing are UTM Zone 14 WGS84.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Map of the RISMA stations in the Sturgen Creek area, Manitoba. Easting and Northing are inUTM Zone 14 WGS84.

  • MB12:
    • Easting: 600078
      Northing: 5560695
      NE 13-14-2-W1
  • MB11:
    • Easting: 602004
      Northing: 5551981
      SW 20-13-1-W1
  • MB10:
    • Easting: 618431
      Northing: 5537198
      NE 35-11-1-E1
Figure 3: RISMA station locations at the Manitoba Crop Diversification Center, Carberry, Manitoba. Easting and Northing are in UTM Zone 14 WGS84.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

A map of RISMA station locations at the Manitoba Crop Diversification Center, Carberry, Manitoba. Easting and Northing are in UTM Zone 14 WGS84.

  • Base station w Met sensors:
    • Easting: 472221
      Northing: 5531310
      SE 24-11-15-W1
  • MB14:
    • Easting: 472064
      Northing: 553126
  • MB15:
    • Easting 471858
      Northing 5531268
  • MB13:
    • Easting 472221
      Northing 5531211

Instrumentation

The following instruments comprised each station from 2011 to 2013:

  • Data transmission: ADCON Radio transmitter Units (RTU) on Rogers cellular (GSM/GPRS) network linked to a central gateway
  • Power source: 50W solar panels and two 12 V / 100 AH batteries
  • Soil moisture sensor: Steven's HydraProbe II (SDI‐12)
  • Rain gauge: Hydrological Services TB4 tipping bucket rain gauge

The stations underwent an upgrade in 2013 and the following instruments are in use:  

  • Datalogger: Campbell Scientific datalogger CR1000‐XT, installed April‐June 2013
  • Modem: Rogers 4G or LTE Network (HSPA)
  • Power source: 50-100 W solar panels and two 100 AH batteries
  • Soil moisture sensor: Steven's HydraProbe II (SDI‐12)
  • Wind speed/ direction: RM Young wind monitor
  • Rain gauge: Hydrological Services TB4 tipping bucket rain gauge
  • Air temperature and relative humidity: Campbell Scientific temperature and relative humidity probe (HC2‐S3 or HC‐S3) installed inside a RM Young radiation shield

Installation Procedure

The Carman-Elm Creek stations were installed in the fall of 2011 and the Sturgeon Creek Stations were installed in the fall of 2013.  Detailed descriptions of the Carman-Elm Creek installation procedure, site selection process and the soil profiles are provided by Walker (2012).  Information for the Sturgeon Creek and Carberry stations is provided by Eilers (2013) and Eilers (2015), respectively. 

General Setup

The meteorological sensors, datalogger, solar panel and battery were installed at the edge of the field (Figure 4).  The datalogger and the batteries are located inside the small plywood shelter.  The tipping rain bucket is located 2.5 m in the air to avoid interference from the crop with the wind speed/direction sensor installed at a height of 3 m.  The air temperature and relative humidity sensor is located inside a radiation shield to reflect solar radiation away.  Additionally, the radiation shield is located at a height of 1.5 m on the north side of the shelter, where ever possible.  The soil moisture sensors wires run to the shelter and into the datalogger (Figure 4).

Figure 4: a) Photograph of MB5 showing the setup of the Manitoba stations. b) Location of the soil moisture probes relative to the station. Shows vertical surface hydra probes .This station, MB5, has one of the longest distances from the probes to the station.
Description of this image follows
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a) A photo illustrating an installed Manitoba station with a wind sensor, rain gauge, a solar panel and an air temp/RH sensor. B) a photo showing vertical surface hydra probes. Both photos are taken in an open field.

Soil Moisture Probe Installation

The soil moisture sensors were installed in a soil pit, located in the field, approximately 6 to 30 m away from the station depending on the farming practices of the landowner (Figure 5).  A trench between the soil pit and the station was also dug to protect cables connecting the soil moisture sensors to the datalogger.  Care was taken to leave an "undisturbed" pit wall where the sensors were installed.  The soil that was removed from the pit was placed on a tarp so that it could be used to backfill the pit with minimal mixing of the soil layers.

Figure 5: Schematic, cross-sectional illustration of the Manitoba RISMA station layout; not to scale.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Illustration of station with data logger, modem, solar panel, battery and meteorological sensors. Sensors are spaced 6 to 30 meters from the station. The station is located at the edge of the field, near a ditch. There is one ground sensor on the surface and four buried in the soil that vary in depth from 0.05m, 0.2m, 0.5m, and 1m

The sensor locations were selected and flagged. Three sensors, or replicas, were installed at each depth: 0‐5 cm (vertical), 5 cm (horizontal), 20 cm (horizontal), 50 cm (horizontal) and 100 cm (horizontal). The three replicas were installed to form three columns of sensors according to Figure 6. Within the columns, the sensors are located offset (20 to 30 cm apart) from each other to avoid disturbing the flow to the sensors below.

Figure 6: Schematic illustration of the instillation of the Steven’s HydraProbe sensors in the soil pit wall at the Manitoba RISMA stations.
Description of this image follows
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Stevens Hydra Probes. Illustration shows three surface probes. Each probe has four sensors buried in soil that vary in depth at 5 cm, 20 cm, 50 cm, and 100 cm.

To install the soil moisture sensors, a soil coring device (1.5 inch diameter × 6 inch long [3.81 × 15.25 cm]) was used to extract an undisturbed soil sample from the pit wall at each flagged sensor location (Figure 7). The soil coring device was hammered into the back wall of the soil pit horizontally and the soil was retained for analysis.  Then a long narrow piece of wood was used to scrape the hole clean as the soil moisture probes need to be installed flush with the soil surface.  Following, the sensors were inserted into the cavity using a piece of PVC tube for leverage (Figure 7).  After installing the sensors, the soil core cavity was backfilled with soil and a mix of soil and bentonite to prevent preferential flow towards the sensor.  Once all the sensors were installed, the soil pit and the trench were carefully backfilled.

Figure 7: Photographs illustrating the installation of the HydraProbe sensors into the pit wall. a) extracting a soil cord; b): scraping the soil core cavity clean; and c) a probe installed in the soil core cavity.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Two photographs of station workers installing HydraProbe sensors into the pit wall and a photograph of a probe installed in the soil core cavity.

The soil removed during the coring process was used to do site specific lab calibration (dry down of undisturbed sample) and a soil texture analysis for each sensor depth.

Regular Maintenance

Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada carefully seeds and cuts the crop surrounding the sensors to avoid damage to the soil moisture equipment and to better emulate field conditions.  Due to poor performance of the sensors at site MB5, a complete re-installation of the sensors was completed on October 15, 2014 by AAFC employees and has been thoroughly documented (Powers, 2014).  Subsequent re-installations have occurred at MB2 (September 16, 2015) and MB4 (September 8, 2016).

Due to heaving during the freeze-thaw process in the spring and winter, the buildup of organic matter at the soil surface, cracks forming in the soil during dry periods, and animals pulling the probes out of the ground, the surface (0-5 cm) and 5 cm probes are often reinserted into the ground.  This often occurs throughout the spring and fall, and occasionally throughout the season.

Soil Texture

A hydrometer method was used to determine soil textural composition from samples that were taken during installation.

Table 2: Soil textures for Manitoba RISMA Stations.
Station Depth
(cm)
Density
(g/cm3)
Sand
(%)
Silt
(%)
Clay
(%)
Classification
MB1 5 1.28 78.8 10.1 11.1 Sandy Loam
MB1 20 1.56 80.2 8.3 11.5 Sandy Loam
MB1 50 1.5 81.5 8.2 10.3 Loamy Sand
MB1 100 1.57 81.0 6.8 12.2 Sandy Loam
MB2 5 1.35 44.9 20.8 34.3 Clay Loam
MB2 20 1.63 62.6 12.9 24.5 Sandy Clay Loam
MB2 50 1.63 65.8 13.2 21.0 Sandy Clay Loam
MB2 100 1.57 75.3 15.0 9.7 Sandy Loam
MB3 5 1.47 47.1 21.1 31.8 Sandy Clay Loam
MB3 20 1.52 45.8 21.3 32.9 Sandy Clay Loam
MB3 50 1.44 31.3 23.7 45.0 Clay
MB3 100 1.41 69.9 17.7 12.4 Sandy Loam
MB4 5 1.33 90.4 0.2 9.4 Sand
MB4 20 1.50 88.7 1.6 9.7 Loamy Sand
MB4 50 1.60 88.7 1.6 9.7 Loamy Sand
MB4 100 1.58 85.6 5.0 9.4 Loamy Sand
MB5 5 1.46 41.4 18.1 40.5 Clay
MB5 20 1.41 22.7 19.5 57.8 Clay
MB5 50 1.33 4.3 27.2 68.5 Heavy Clay
MB5 100 1.32 3.0 27.7 69.3 Heavy Clay
MB6 5 1.21 3.7 24.6 71.7 Heavy Clay
MB6 20 1.39 3.8 21.3 74.9 Heavy Clay
MB6 50 1.31 2.0 25.9 72.1 Heavy Clay
MB6 100 1.31 0.5 27.3 72.2 Heavy Clay
MB7 5 1.40 78.3 9.2 12.5 Sandy Loam
MB7 20 1.59 82.3 5.8 11.9 Loamy Sand
MB7 50 1.57 78.1 8.6 13.3 Sandy Loam
MB7 100 1.58 80.3 8.0 11.7 Sandy Loam
MB8 5 1.22 3.6 33.2 63.2 Heavy Clay
MB8 20 1.38 3.5 22.6 73.9 Heavy Clay
MB8 50 1.38 3.9 23.3 72.8 Heavy Clay
MB8 100 1.50 1.5 27.6 70.9 Heavy Clay
MB9 5 1.53 81.3 6.0 12.7 Sandy Loam
MB9 20 1.60 85.5 3.2 11.3 Loamy Sand
MB9 50 1.53 83.4 5.1 11.5 Loamy Sand
MB9 100 1.58 87.5 6.7 5.8 Loamy Sand
MB10 5 1.05 4.55 24.0 71.6 Heavy Clay
MB10 20 1.27 2.4 13.5 84.1 Heavy Clay
MB10 50 1.24 6.7 22.9 70.4 Heavy Clay
MB10 100 1.30 13.6 44.6 41.8 Silty Clay
MB11 5 1.3 23.8 39.5 36.8 Clay Loam
MB11 20 1.59 25.4 38.8 35.8 Clay Loam
MB11 50 1.64 24.0 46.6 29.3 Clay Loam
MB11 100 1.74 64.9 29.4 5.8 Sandy Loam
MB12 5 1.33 42.1 41.7 16.2 Loam
MB12 20 1.57 36.5 38.7 24.8 Loam
MB12 50 1.65 27.9 45.0 27.1 Loam
MB12 100 1.55 24.9 46.2 28.9 Clay Loam
MB13 5 1.3 81.0 12.0 7.0 Loamy Sand
MB13 20 1.6 81.0 11.0 8.0 Loamy Sand
MB13 50 1.52 73.0 15.0 12.0 Sandy Loam
MB13 100 1.32 19.0 39.0 42.0 Clay
MB14 5 1.4 89.0 7.0 4.0 Sand
MB14 20 1.4 73.0 17.0 10.0 Sandy Loam
MB14 50 1.4 49.0 31.0 20.0 Loam
MB14 100 1.4 23.0 43.0 34.0 Clay Loam
MB15 5 1.52 83.0 11.0 6.0 Loamy Sand
MB15 20 1.5 75.0 15.0 10.0 Sandy Loam
MB15 50 1.5 89.0 9.0 8.0 Loamy Sand
MB15 100 1.42 97.0 3.0 0.0 Sand

Soil Moisture Calibration Equations

The soil moisture calibration equations are based on a regional in‐situ calibration developed by Ojo (2015). The regional calibration equations were applied to the regionally consistent sandy and loam soils, while the site specific lab equations were applied to the more variable clay soils.

Table 3: The soil moisture calibration equations for the Manitoba RISMA stations used for version 1 and 2 of data.

Station Depth (cm) Equation
(x=√RDC)
MB1 0‐5 0.1059x – 0.1582
MB1 5 0.1059x – 0.1582
MB1 20 0.1059x – 0.1582
MB1 50 0.1059x – 0.1582
MB1 100 0.1059x – 0.1582
MB2 0‐5 0.0748x – 0.0299
MB2 5 0.0748x – 0.0299
MB2 20 0.0748x – 0.0299
MB2 50 0.084x – 0.0773
MB2 100 0.07642x – 0.05692
MB3 0‐5 0.0786x – 0.0766
MB3 5 0.0786x – 0.0766
MB3 20 0.0753x – 0.0551
MB3 50 0.0776x – 0.066
MB3 100 0.07642x – 0.05692
MB4 0‐5 0.1169x – 0.1831
MB4 5 0.1169x – 0.1831
MB4 20 0.1169x – 0.1831
MB4 50 0.1169x – 0.1831
MB4 100 0.1169x – 0.1831
MB5 0‐5 0.0759x – 0.0649
MB5 5 0.0759x – 0.0649
MB5 20 0.0672x – 0.0294
MB5 50 0.0672x – 0.0294
MB5 100 0.0672x – 0.0294
MB6 0‐5 0.0804x – 0.0605
MB6 5 0.0804x – 0.0605
MB6 20 0.0734x – 0.0111
MB6 50 0.0734x – 0.0111
MB6 100 0.0734x – 0.0111
MB7 0‐5 0.0978x – 0.12
MB7 5 0.0978x – 0.12
MB7 20 0.0978x – 0.12
MB7 50 0.0978x – 0.12
MB7 100 0.0978x – 0.12
MB8 0‐5 0.0592x + 0.0635
MB8 5 0.0592x + 0.0635
MB8 20 0.059x + 0.067
MB8 50 0.059x + 0.067
MB8 100 0.059x + 0.067
The soil moisture calibration equations output soil moisture as m3/m3 and are based on regional field calibration developed by Ojo (2015). 
RDC is the non‐temperature corrected Real Dielectric Constant.
Station Depth (cm) Equation
(x=√RDC)
MB9 0‐5 0.0869x − 0.1159
MB9 5 0.0869x − 0.1159
MB9 20 0.1034x – 0.1603
MB9 50 0.1087x – 0.1548
MB9 100 0.1087x – 0.1548
MB10 0‐5 0.0672x + 0.0807
MB10 5 0.0672x + 0.0807
MB10 20 0.0662x + 0.0865
MB10 50 0.0662x + 0.0865
MB10 100 0.0662x + 0.0865
MB11 0‐5 0.059x + 0.0866
MB11 5 0.059x + 0.0866
MB11 20 0.059x + 0.0866
MB11 50 0.059x + 0.0866
MB11 100 0.1084x − 0.1633
MB12 0‐5 0.0653x + 0.0521
MB12 5 0.0653x + 0.0521
MB12 20 0.0577x  + 0.0968
MB12 50 0.0584x + 0.0864
MB12 100 0.0616x + 0.0730
MB13 0‐5 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB13 5 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB13 20 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB13 50 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB13 100 0.0776x − 0.066
MB14 0‐5 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB14 5 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB14 20 0.1059x – 0.1582
MB14 50 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB14 100 0.0616x + 0.0730
MB15 0‐5 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB15 5 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB15 20 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB15 50 0.1059x − 0.1582
MB15 100 0.1059x − 0.1582
The soil moisture calibration equations output soil moisture as m3/m3 and are based on regional field calibration developed by Ojo (2015). 
RDC is the non‐temperature corrected Real Dielectric Constant.

Data

Sensor data is logged every 15 minutes and the data is updated on the AAFC internal server, SOS cloud server and the web portal once per hour.

The data format changed in 2013 with the installation of the additional sensors and new dataloggers.  Data recorded prior to 2013 can be requested directly from Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada.  Data recorded after June 2013 is provided at the following data portal:  Soil monitoring stations. Current conditions, 15‐minute data series and daily data summaries can be visualized and downloaded through the portal.

The headers for the soil moisture sensors are constructed according to:

Depth of measurement in cm, replica or column number, parameter

  • #1 sensors were installed in column #1
  • #2 sensors were installed in column #2, which is the middle column (always located between column 1 and 3)
  • #3 sensors were installed in column #3

15 Minute Data

The following are examples of 15‐minute data headers for station MB1:

  • MB1 Reading Time (CST): Date and time of the data recordings in Local Standard Time, 24 hour clock
  • MB1 Ambient Air RHAvg (%):  Average relative humidity measured in the past 15 minutes at a 1.5 m height, in percent
  • MB1 Ambient Air Temp (°C): Average air temperature measured in the past 15 minutes at a 1.5 m height, in °C
  • MB1 Precipitation (mm): Total amount of rain in the past 15 minutes measured at a 2.5 m height, in mm
  • MB1 Wind WindDir: Average wind direction in the past 15 minutes measured at a 3 m height, in cardinal direction
  • MB1 Wind WindSpeed (km/h): Average wind speed in the past 15 minutes measured at a 3 m height, in km/h
  • MB1 Wind WindSpeedMax (km/h):  Maximum wind speed in the past 15 minutes measured at a 3 m height, in km/h
  • MB1 Wind WindSpeedMin (km/h):  Minimum wind speed in the past 15 minutes measured at a 3 m height, in km/h
  • MB1 0-5 cm Depth Sensor 1 Temp (°C): Soil temperature (HydraProbe parameter F) measured at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) in column #1, in °C
  • MB1 0-5 cm Depth Sensor 1 WFV (%): Calibrated soil moisture as calculated based on the recorded RDC at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) in column #1, in m3/m3.

The data from the remaining Stevens HydraProbe sensors follow the exact pattern as the example provided above.  The soil moisture measured by a 20 cm sensor in column #3, would have the following header:

MB1 20 cm Depth Sensor 3 WFV (%).

Note, the station ID in the header may be provided as MB_1 or MB1 depending on where the data is downloaded.  The data from the remaining Stevens HydraProbe sensors follow the exact pattern as the MB1_0 to 5cm_1 example provided above.  The soil moisture measured by a horizontal 5 cm sensor in column #2, would have the following header:

MB_1_Hydra_5cm_WFV_2.

The data files for all stations are structured exactly the same and the headers are the same with the exception of Station ID.

Daily Data

The daily data values provided at the data portal (soil monitoring stations)  are calculated at midnight Local Standard Time (CST for MB stations) and cover the previous 24 hour period.

The following is an example of the daily data headers for MB stations:

  • Reading Time: Date, as year-month-day
  • Ambient Air RHAvg (%):  Average daily relative humidity measured at a 1.5 m height, in percent
  • Ambient Air Temp (°C): Average daily air temperature measured at a 1.5 m height, in °C
  • Ambient Air TempMax (°C): Maximum daily air temperature measured at a 1.5 m height, in °C
  • Ambient Air TempMin (°C): Minimum daily air temperature measured at a 1.5 m height, in °C
  • Precipitation Total (mm): Total daily rain amount measured at a 2.5 m height, in mm
  • Wind WindDir: Average daily wind direction measured at 3 m height, in cardinal direction
  • Wind WindSpeed (km/h): Average daily wind speed measured at a 3 m height, in km/h
  • Wind WindSpeedMax (km/h): Maximum daily wind speed measured at a 3 m height, in km/h
  • Wind WindSpeedMin (km/h): Minimum daily wind speed measured at a 3 m height, in km/h
  • 0-5 cm Depth Average (°C): Average daily soil temperature (HydraProbe parameter F) at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) for all columns, in °C
  • 0-5 cm Depth Average WFV (%): Average daily calibrated soil moisture at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) for all columns, in %

The data from the remaining Stevens HydraProbe sensors follow the exact pattern as the example provided above.  The daily average soil moisture measured at 20-cm depth would have the following header:

20 cm Depth Average WFV (%).

Data Flags

The HydraProbe data has gone through a basic, automated quality control (QC) procedure where data not meeting the quality standards has either been removed or flagged.

Missing data and data removed by QC process is reported as "NoData" in the data columns and as NA in the flag columns.

The data flags have been modified over time and are considered cumulative after V2.20140214.

V1.20130617: Applied June 27, 2013.

These data flags apply to data downloaded between June 17, 2013, and the application of the next data version.

Original QC Flags

"Flag1,Flag2,Flag3,Flag4,Flag5"

The flags will be listed as OK, NA or an error message.  Here are the possible outputs for each flag:

  • Flag 1 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV range" / "NA"
  • Flag 2 Output: "OK" / "Frozen soil" / "NA"
  • Flag 3 Output: "OK" / "Out of average range" / "NA"
  • Flag 4 Output: "OK" / "Readings below zero" / "NA"
  • Flag 5 Output: "OK" / "DLT > 2" / "NA"
  • Flag 1 "Out of WFV range": activated if Soil Moisture (m3/m3) is less than 0 or greater than 0.60
  • Flag 2 "Frozen soil": activated if the soil temperature is below zero °C and indicates that the soil moisture readings should not be used
  • Flag 3 "Out of WFV average range": activated if Soil Moisture value (m3/m3) is more than 10% different from the average, i.e. if there are sudden changes in soil moisture (these could be due to rain events or data noise; the flag is there to assist in interpretation along with rain gauge data)
  • Flag 4 "Readings below zero": activated if Real Dielectric Constant (RDC) or Temperature Corrected Soil Conductivity (CON) is negative
  • Flag 5 "DLT > 2": activated if the Dielectric Loss Tangent (DLT = Imaginary Dielectric Constant / Real Dielectric Constant) is greater than 2

V2.20140214: Applied February 14, 2014. 

Updates: The automated QC protocol has been adjusted and the soil moisture flags have been modified.

These updates apply to all RISMA data (June 2013 to current) downloaded between November 28, 2014, and the application date of the next data version.

Meteorological data: The known bad data between June 2013 and November 2013 has been removed.  Also new to this version is that the precipitation data will be removed and reported as "NoData" when the air temperature is below freezing point.

Soil Moisture QC Flags: "Flag1,Flag2,Flag3,Flag4,Flag5,Flag6"

The flags will be listed as OK, NA or an error message.  Here are the possible outputs for each flag:

  • Flag 1 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV range" / "NA"
  • Flag 2       Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV average range" / "NA"
  • Flag 3 Output: "OK" / "Frozen soil" / warning: "STC averaged using depth 1 & 2" / "NA"
  • Flag 4 Output: "OK" / "Out of RDC range" / "NA"
  • Flag 5 Output: "OK" / "DLT >= 1.5" / "NA"
  • Flag 6 Output: "OK" / "CON >= 0.2" / "NA"
  • Flag 1 "Out of WFV range": activated if the Soil Moisture (m3/m3) is less than 0.02 or greater than 0.60
  • Flag 2 "Out of WFV average range": activated if Soil Moisture value (m3/m3) is more than 10% different from the average, i.e. if there are sudden changes in soil moisture (these could be due to rain events or data noise; the flag is there to assist in interpretation along with rain gauge data)
  • Flag 3 "Frozen soil": activated if the soil temperature is below zero degrees Celsius and indicates that the soil moisture readings should not be used
  • Flag 3 "STC averaged using depth 1 & 2": activated when HydraProbe sensor #3 does not measure soil temperature.  The average soil temperature from sensor #1 and 2 is used instead.  Occurs at some ON stations.
  • Flag 4 "Out of RDC range": activated when Real Dielectric Constant (RDC) is less than 2.4
  • Flag 5 "DLT >= 1.5": activated when the Dielectric Loss Tangent (DLT = Imaginary Dielectric Constant / Real Dielectric Constant) is equal to or larger than 1.5
  • Flag 6 "CON >= 0.2": activated when temperature corrected soil conductivity (CON) is equal to or larger than 0.2 S/m

The HydraProbe data is removed if real dielectric constant (RDC), conductivity (Con) or dielectric loss tangent is negative as it indicates a malfunctioning sensor.

V3.20141128: Applied November 28, 2014.

Updates: New calibration equations have been implemented for the Sturgeon Creek stations (MB10, 11 and 12) and these stations have been added to the QC automated protocol.  The soil moisture flags remain similar to V2.20140214.

Timestamps have been adjusted and will now include both date and time recorded in two time formats: Local Standard Time and Coordinated Universal Time.

These updates apply to all RISMA data (June 2013 to current) downloaded between November 28, 2014, and the application date of the next data version.

New calibration equations have been implemented on the data and all Manitoba RISMA data have been re-processed using these equations.  The new equations were derived from a site-specific calibration methodology developed by Ojo (2015).  The data flags have not been modified since the last version and are applied on the data as per previous versions.

Meteorological data: Please note that precipitation data will be removed and reported as "NoData" when the air temperature is below freezing point.

V4.20170104: Applied January 4, 2017.

Updates: New calibration equations have been implemented for the Carberry stations (MB13, 14 and 15) and these stations have been added to the QC automated protocol.  The soil moisture flags remain similar to V2.20140214.

These updates apply to all RISMA data (June 2013 to current) downloaded between January 4, 2017, and the application date of the next data version.

Non-responsive HydraProbe sensors: HydraProbe sensors that have been non-responsive at 20-cm depths and below will not be replaced with new sensors and thus are now being reported as "NoSensor".  Table 4 identifies the sensors that are currently active from those who have been deemed non-responsive as of December 2014.

V5.20170918: Applied September 19, 2017

Updates: Currently, Flag 1 is activated if the soil moisture value is less than 0.02 m3/m3 or greater than 0.60 m3/m3.  If values fall outside of this range, then the data is flagged. This flag will remain in place but the soil moisture (WFV) value will be changed to "No Data" if the value is less than 0.02 m3/m3.  This will avoid negative values in the dataset.

This update applies to all RISMA data downloaded after September 19, 2017.

Probe Status

Occasionally the HydroProbe sensors stop working.  While the surface (0-5 cm) and 5 cm probes are replace, the 20 cm and deeper probes are not replaced.  Replacement of the deep probes may result a significant shift in soil moisture due to the recent soil disturbance.  Table 4 and Table 5 identifies the sensors that are currently active from those who have been deemed non-responsive in 2014 and 2018, respectively.

Table 4 : List of sensors for the Manitoba stations that have been deemed unresponsive as of December 2014.
Station 0-5 cm 5 cm 20 cm 50 cm 100 cm
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
MB1 R R R R R R A A A NS A A A A NS
MB2 R R R R R R A NS A A NS A A NS A
MB3 R R R R R R NS A A A A A A A A
MB4 R R R R R R NS A A A A NS NS A A
MB5 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
MB6 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A NS
MB7 R R R R R R A A A A A A A NS A
MB8 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
MB9 R R R R R R A A A A A A NS A A
MB10 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
MB11 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
MB12 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
  "A" signifies sensors that are active,
"NS" signifies sensors have been disconnected due to failure or anomalies
"R" for sensors which are replaced or reinserted on a regular basis.
Table 5 : List of sensors for the Manitoba stations that have been deemed unresponsive as of April 2019.
Station 0-5 cm 5 cm 20 cm 50 cm 100 cm
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
MB1 R R R R R R A A NS NS NS A A A NS
MB2 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
MB3 R R R R R R NS A A A A A NS A NS
MB4 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
MB5 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
MB6 R R R R NS R NS NS NS A A A A NS NS
MB7 R R R R R R A NS A A A A A NS NS
MB8 R R R R R R NS A A A A NS NS A A
MB9 R R R R R R A NS A A A A NS NS A
MB10 R R R R NS R A A A A A A A A A
MB11 R R R R R R NS A A A A A A A A
MB12 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
MB13 R R R R R NS A A A A A A NS A NS
MB14 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
MB15 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
  "A" signifies sensors that are active,
"NS" signifies sensors have been disconnected due to failure or anomalies
"R" for sensors which are replaced or reinserted on a regular basis.

References

Eilers, R.G.  (2013).  Sturgeon Creek Soil Moisture Monitoring Stations (SMMS) Soil and Landscape Classification.  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Science and Technology Branch, Winnipeg, MB.  30pp.

Eilers, R.G.  (2015).  Carberry Soil Moisture Monitoring Stations – Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Center (SMMS – CMCDC) Soil and Landscape Classification.  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Science and Technology Branch, Winnipeg, MB.  18pp.

Ojo, R. (2012).  Multi‐depth HydraProbe Calibration.  SMAPVEX12: SMAP Validation Experiment 2012.  University of Manitoba.  7pp.

Ojo, R., L'Heureux, J.,  Bullock, P.  R., Powers, J.,  McNairn, H. and A.  Pacheco (2015).  Calibration and Evaluation of an FDR Sensor for the Real-time In Situ Monitoring for Agriculture Network in Manitoba. Vadose Zone 14, doi:10.2136/vzj2014.08.

Powers, J. (2014). Re-Installation of Hydra-Probes at RISMA Station MB 5. Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada, Winnipeg, MB.  6pp.

Walker, B.D.  (2012).  Agri‐Environmental Monitoring – Manitoba: Methodology and landscape descriptions.  Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada, Agri‐Environmental Services Branch.  Winnipeg, MB and Ottawa, ON.  29 pp.

Saskatchewan Real-time In-situ Soil Monitoring for Agriculture (RISMA) Network Metadata

The Saskatchewan monitoring stations were established in 2011 by AAFC to supplement an existing network established by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the University of Guelph.  The ECCC‐Guelph network supports a variety of hydrological, land surface modelling and satellite data validation research.  The stations were established west of Kenaston, 100 km south of Saskatoon (Table 6 and Figure 8) and are in Canada's Prairie/Boreal Plain Ecozone.

The AAFC sites were installed on four pasture sites to supplement the existing sites which are installed primarily on annual cropland.  Cereals, canola and peas are typically grown in this area.  The Saskatchewan stations record precipitation, air temperature, wind direction and wind speed, as well as the real dielectric constant, soil moisture and soil temperature using HydraProbe sensors at surface (0‐5 cm), 5 cm, 20 cm, 50 cm, 100 cm and 150 cm depths.  There are two to three probes at each depth, or replicates.  This replication provides a measurement of spatial variability in soil moisture and redundancy in the event of sensor malfunction.

Station Location

Table 6: Saskatchewan RISMA Station Locations.
Station ID Legal Land Description* Easting Northing Latitude Longitude
SK1 SW 30‐27‐04 W3 390984 5688224 51.33484 −106.56494
SK2 SW 30‐27‐04 W3 391057 5688245 51.335042 −106.563899
SK3 NW 11‐28‐04 W3 397761 5693570 51.384154 −106.469228
SK4 NW 07‐28‐03 W3 401471 5693217 51.381637 −106.415833

*QTR-SEC-TWP-RGE

  Note that Easting and Northing are provided in UTM Z13 WGS84.

Figure 8: Map of Saskatchewan RISMA stations.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

A map of Saskatchewan RISMA stations supplied by UG network (University of Guelph) and EC network (Environment Canada)

  • Station #2 (SK3):
    • Easting: 397761
    • Northing: 5693570
  • Station #1 (SK1):
    • Easting: 390984
    • Northing: 5688224
  • Station #4 (SK4):
    • Easting 401471
    • Northing 5693217

Instrumentation

The following instruments were used from 2011-2013:

  • Datalogger: Campbell Scientific datalogger (CR800)
  • Power source: 40W solar panels and 12V / 100 AH battery
  • Modem: Bluetree 6800 modems on Bell 3G or LTE Network (HSPA)
  • Soil moisture sensor: Steven's HydraProbe II (SDI‐12)
  • Rain gauge: Campbell Scientific tipping bucket rain gauge (CS700)
  • Wind speed/ direction: RM Young wind monitor (Model 05103)

In 2013 the stations underwent an upgrade and the following instruments are currently used:

  • Datalogger: Campbell Scientific datalogger (CR1000)
  • Modem: Bluetree 6800 modems on Bell 3G or LTE Network (HSPA)
  • Power source: 40W solar panels and 12V / 100 AH battery
  • Soil moisture sensor: Steven's HydraProbe II (SDI‐12)
  • Rain gauge: Campbell Scientific tipping bucket rain gauge (CS700)
  • Wind speed/ direction: RM Young wind monitor (Model 05103)
  • Air temperature and relative humidity: Campbell Scientific temperature and relative humidity probe (HC2‐S3 or HC‐S3) installed inside a RM Young radiation shield (model 41003)

Installation Procedure

The stations were installed in the summer of 2011 and detailed descriptions of the installation procedure and the soil profiles are provided by L'Heureux (2011). The four Saskatchewan RISMA stations were installed in pastures, meaning the stations could be installed anywhere on the field without risk of being hit by agricultural machinery. The locations are fenced to prevent cattle from interfering with the sensors.

General Setup

The meteorological sensors, datalogger, solar panel, battery and soil moisture probes were installed inside a fenced area, 10 × 20 ft (3.048 × 6.096 m) (Figure 9) to prevent interference from cattle.  The tipping rain bucket is located at a height of 1.5 m, to ensure accurate measurement of rainfall while the wind speed/direction sensor is at a 2 m height.  The temperature and relative humidity sensor is located inside a radiation shield minimizing influence from solar radiation. The radiation shield is on a 1.5 m fence post located and faces north where ever possible. An illustration of the station layout is shown in Figure 10.

Figure 9: Photograph of SK3 showing the setup of the Saskatchewan stations.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

A photograph of a station setup that includes a solar panel, rain gauge, wind sensor, air temperature and relative humidity, spacing for vertical surface hydra probes and an enclosure for a data logger. The equipment is outdoors and surrounded by a fence.

Figure 10: illustration of the Saskatchewan RISMA station layout as seen from above.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Top view of a station layout, North facing. In a square space there is a wind sensor and air temperature / RH sensor, an enclosure with data logger, solar panel, battery, tipping bucket. Soil moisture sensor "columns" or replicas, buried soil moisture sensor cables. Three columns are spaced 1 meter apart in a pit with disturbed soil.

Soil Moisture Probe Installation

The soil moisture sensors were installed in a soil pit excavated with a backhoe.  Care was taken to leave an "undisturbed" wall where the sensors were installed.  The soil removed from the pit was placed on a tarp so that it could be used to backfill the pit with minimal mixing of the soil layers.  The sensor locations were selected and flagged.  Three sensors, or replicas, were installed at each depth: 0‐5 cm (vertical), 5 cm (horizontal), 20 cm (horizontal), 50 cm (horizontal), where at 100 cm (horizontal) and 150 cm (horizontal) were installed.  The replicas were installed to form three columns of sensors except at the 100 cm and 150 cm depths where only two sensors were installed (Figure 11).  Within the columns, the sensors are offset from each other, by approximately 1 m, to avoid disturbing the flow to the sensors below.

Figure 11: A schematic illustration of the Steven’s HydraProbe sensors instillation; not to scale.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Stevens Hydra Probes. Illustration shows three surface probes. First and second probes have five sensors, and the third probe has three sensors. All sensors are buried in soil that vary in depth at 0.05 m, 0.20 m, 0.50 m, 1.00 m and 1.50 m.

To install the soil moisture sensors, a soil coring device (2 inch diameter × 3 inch long [5.08 × 7.62 cm]) was used to extract an undisturbed soil sample from the pit wall at each flagged sensor location (Figure 12). The soil coring device was hammered horizontally into the pit wall. The soil removed from each location was retained for analysis. Then, the cavity was scraped clean and smooth as the soil moisture probes need to be installed flush with the soil surface. Next, the sensors were inserted into the cavity left after extracting the soil core using a length of PVC tube for leverage. After installing the sensors, the soil core cavity was backfilled with soil and a mix of soil and bentonite to prevent preferential flow towards the sensor. Once all the sensors were installed, the soil pit and the trench were carefully backfilled.

Figure 12: Photographs illustrating the installation of the HydraProbe sensors into the pit wall. a) extracting a soil cord; b): scraping the soil core cavity clean; and c) installing the soil moisture probe in the soil core cavity.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Photograph of station workers using soil coring device undisturbed soil sample, scraping the soil cavity until smooth and clean and inserting the soil moisture probe in the soil core cavity.

The soil removed during the coring process was used to do site specific lab calibration (dry down of undisturbed sample) and a soil texture analysis for each sensor location.

Regular Maintenance

The plots require very little maintenance and probes have had minimal reinserted since instillation.  A few of the surface (0-5 cm) and 5 cm probes have been moved and reinserted. However, in 2019, an annual reinsertion of the surface (0-5 cm) soil probes will occur.  This is due to the buildup of soil organic matter on the soil surface and the need to maintain contact with the soil.

Soil Texture

A hydrometer method was used to determine soil textural composition from samples that were taken during installation.

Table 7: Soil textures for Saskatchewan RISMA Stations. 
Station Depth
(cm)
Density
(g/cm3)
Sand
(%)
Silt
(%)
Clay
(%)
Classification
SK1 0-5 1.01 14.5 56.3 29.2 Silty Clay Loam
SK1 5 1.07 14.8 56.3 28.9 Silty Clay Loam
SK1 20 1.52 23.0 49.9 27.1 Loam
SK1 50 1.59 11.7 53.2 35.1 Silty Clay Loam
SK1 100 1.81 38.8 31.5 29.7 Clay Loam
SK1 150 1.81 24.0 47.3 28.7 Clay Loam
SK2 0-5 1.10 20.2 55.4 24.4 Silt Loam
SK2 5 1.34 24.3 49.6 26.1 Loam
SK2 20 1.58 21.5 48.6 29.9 Clay Loam
SK2 50 1.69 52.5 26.8 20.7 Sandy Clay Loam
SK2 100 1.87 35.1 25.8 39.1 Clay Loam
SK2 150 1.88 36.2 31.0 32.8 Clay Loam
SK3 0-5 1.31 35.6 36.8 27.6 Loam
SK3 5 1.61 45.1 30.7 24.2 Loam
SK3 20 1.63 49.5 26.1 24.4 Sandy Clay Loam
SK3 50 1.73 41.4 25.2 33.4 Clay Loam
SK3 100 1.86 40.9 31.9 27.2 Loam
SK3 150 2.00 37.1 29.4 33.5 Clay Loam
SK4 0-5 1.25 24.3 44.9 30.8 Clay Loam
SK4 5 1.57 29.1 37.6 33.3 Clay Loam
SK4 20 1.52 26.5 40.7 32.8 Clay Loam
SK4 50 1.59 28.7 38 33.3 Clay Loam
SK4 100 1.57 30.4 36.6 33.0 Clay Loam
SK4 150 1.62 33.5 34.6 31.9 Clay Loam
Note that depth 0‐5 cm indicates the surface (vertically) installed surface sensors.

Soil Moisture Calibration Equations

The soil moisture calibration equations are based on a lab calibration from site specific soil cores.

Table 8: The soil moisture calibration equations for the Saskatchewan RISMA stations.
Station Depth
(cm)
Equation
(x=RDC)
SK1 0-5 (0.00663x2 + 1.14948x + 3.525889) / 100
SK1 5 (0.000127x2 + 1.43425x + 1.334277) / 100
SK1 20 (0.02280x2 + 0.57818x + 2.92099) / 100
SK1 50 (0.02021x2 + 0.26598x + 4.32800) / 100
SK1 100 (0.02168x2 + 0.62133x + 0.35983) / 100
SK1 150 (0.00873x2 + 0.94502x ‐ 1.65041) / 100
SK2 0-5 (0.0107x2 + 0.9161x + 4.062) / 100
SK2 5 (0.0152x2 + 0.8583x + 2.4355) / 100
SK2 20 (0.0228x2 + 0.479x + 3.3194) / 100
SK2 50 (0.0439x2 + 0.2804x + 2.0212) / 100
SK2 100 (0.0466x2 − 0.4425x + 8.6272) / 100
SK2 150 (‐0.0038x2 + 1.3114x ‐ 3.618) / 100
SK3 0-5 (0.01666x2 + 0.73262x + 2.38252) / 100
SK3 5 (0.01089x2 + 1.05061x − 0.70396) / 100
SK3 20 (0.01827x2 + 0.72865x + 0.76218) / 100
SK3 50 (‐0.00794x2 + 1.053396x − 2.48302) / 100
SK3 100 (‐0.00267x2 + 0.54936x + 2.19025) / 100
SK3 150 (‐0.00602x2 + 1.06546x − 4.60197) / 100
SK4 0-5 (0.0217x2 + 0.4287x + 4.4967) / 100
SK4 5 (0.0263x2 + 0.1246x + 4.8707) / 100
SK4 20 (0.0258x2 + 0.1622x + 4.0373) / 100
SK4 50 (0.0171x2 + 0.6727x + 0.2673) / 100
SK4 100 (0.0016x2 + 0.556x + 1.5024) / 100
SK4 150 (‐0.0056x2 + 1.0049x − 2.0664) / 100
The soil moisture calibration equations output soil moisture as m3/m3
RDC is the non‐temperature corrected Real Dielectric Constant.

Data

Sensor data is logged every 15 minutes and the data is updated on the AAFC internal server, SOS cloud server and the web portal once per hour.

Data format changed in 2013 with the installation of the additional sensors and new dataloggers.  Data recorded prior to 2013 can be requested directly from Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada.  Data recorded after June 2013 is provided at the following data portal: soil monitoring stations.  Current conditions, 15‐minute data series and daily data summaries can be visualized and downloaded through the portal.

The headers for the soil moisture sensors are constructed according to:

Depth of measurement in cm, replica or column number, parameter

  • #1 sensors were installed in column #1
  • #2 sensors were installed in column #2, which is the middle column (always located between column 1 and 3)
  • #3 sensors were installed in column #3

15 Minute Data

The following are examples of 15‐minute data headers for station SK1.

  • SK1 Reading Time (CST): Date and time reported in Local Standard Time (CST), 24‐hour clock
  • SK1 Ambient Air RHAvg(%): Average relative humidity in the past 15 minutes measured at a 1.5 m height, in percent
  • SK1 Ambient Air Temp (°C): Average air temperature in the past 15 minutes measured at a 1.5 m height, in °C
  • SK1 Precipitation (mm): Total amount of rain in the past 15 minutes measured at a 1.5 m height, in mm
  • SK1 Wind WindDir: Average wind direction in the past 15 minutes measured at a 2 m height, in cardinal direction
  • SK1 Wind WindSpeed (km/h): Average wind speed in the past 15 minutes measured at a 2 m height, in km/h
  • SK1 Wind WindSpeedMax (km/h): Maximum wind speed in the past 15 minutes measured at a 2 m height, km/h
  • SK1 Wind WindSpeedMin (km/h): Minimum wind speed in the past 15 minutes measured at a 2 m height, km/h
  • SK1 0-5 cm Depth Sensor 1 Temp (°C): Soil temperature (HydraProbe parameter F) measured at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) in column #1, in °C
  • SK1 0-5 cm Depth Sensor 1 WFV (%): Calibrated soil moisture as calculated based on the recorded RDC at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) in column #1, in m3/m3

The data from the remaining Stevens HydraProbe sensors follow the exact pattern as the example provided above.  The soil moisture measured by a 20 cm sensor in column #3, would have the following header:

SK1 20 cm Depth Sensor 3 WFV (%).

Note, the station ID in the header may be provided as SK_1 or SK1 depending on where the data is downloaded.  The data from the remaining Stevens HydraProbe sensors follow the exact pattern as the example provided above.  The soil moisture measured by a horizontal 5 cm sensor in column #2, would have the following header:

SK_1_Hydra_5cm_WFV_2.

The data files for all stations are structured exactly the same and the headers are the same with the exception of Station ID.

Daily Data

The daily data values provided on the data portal (Soil monitoring stations) are calculated at midnight Local Standard Time (CST for SK stations) and cover the previous 24 hour period.

The following is an example of the daily data headers for SK stations:

  • Reading Time (CST): Date, year-month-day
  • Ambient Air RHAvg(%): Average daily relative humidity measured at a 2 m height, in percent
  • Ambient Air Temp (°C): Average daily air temperature measured at a 2 m height, in °C
  • Ambient Air TempMax (°C): Maximum daily air temperature measured at a 1.5vm height, in °C
  • Ambient Air TempMin (°C): Minimum daily air temperature measured at a 1.5 m height, in °C
  • Precipitation Total (mm): Total daily rain amount measured at a 1.5 m height, in mm
  • Wind WindDir: Average daily wind direction measured at a 3 m height, in cardinal direction
  • Wind WindSpeed (km/h): Average daily wind speed measured at a 2 m height, in km/h
  • Wind WindSpeedMax (km/h): Maximum daily wind speed measured at a 2 m height, in km/h
  • Wind WindSpeedMin (km/h): Minimum daily wind speed measured at a  2m height, in km/h
  • 0-5 cm Depth Average (°C): Average daily soil temperature (HydraProbe parameter F) at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) for all columns, in °C
  • 0-5 cm Depth Average WFV (%): Average daily calibrated soil moisture at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) for all columns, in %

The data from the remaining Steven's HydraProbe sensors follow the exact pattern as the example provided above.  The daily average soil temperature measured at 20-cm depth would have the following header:

20 cm Depth Average Temp (°C).

Data Flags

The HydraProbe data has gone through a basic, automated QC procedure where data not meeting quality standards has either been removed or flagged.

Missing data and data removed by QC process is reported as "NoData" in the data columns and as NA in the flag columns.

The data flags have been modified over time and are considered cumulative after V2.20140214.

V1.20130617: Applied June 27, 2013.

These data flags apply to data downloaded between June 17, 2013, and the application of the next data version.

Original QC Flags

"Flag1,Flag2,Flag3,Flag4,Flag5 "

The flags will be OK, NA or an error message.  Here are the possible outputs for each Flag:

  • Flag 1 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV range" / "NA"
  • Flag 2 Output: "OK" / "Frozen soil" / "NA"
  • Flag 3 Output: "OK" / "Out of average range" / "NA"
  • Flag 4 Output: "OK" / "Readings below zero" / "NA"
  • Flag 5 Output: "OK" / "DLT > 2" / "NA"
  • Flag 1 "Out of WFV range": activated if Soil Moisture (m3/m3) is less than 0 or greater than 0.60
  • Flag 2 "Frozen soil": activated if the soil temperature is below zero degrees Celsius and indicates that the soil moisture readings should not be used.
  • Flag 3 "Out of WFV average range": activated if Soil Moisture value (m3/m3) is more than 10% different from the average, i.e. if there are sudden changes in soil moisture (these could be due to rain events or data noise; the flag is there to assist in interpretation along with rain gauge data)
  • Flag 4 "Readings below zero": activated if Real Dielectric Constant (RDC) or Temperature Corrected Soil Conductivity (CON) is negative
  • Flag 5 "DLT > 2": activated if the Dielectric Loss Tangent (DLT = Imaginary Dielectric Constant / Real Dielectric Constant) is greater than 2

V2.20140214: Applied February 14, 2014.

Updates: The automated QC protocol has been adjusted and the soil moisture flags have been modified.

These updates apply to all RISMA data (June 2013 to current) downloaded between February 14, 2014, and the application date of the next data version.

Meteorological data: The known bad data between June 2013 and November 2013 has been removed.  Also new to this version is that the precipitation data will be removed and reported as "NoData" when the air temperature is below freezing point.

Soil Moisture QC Flags: "Flag1,Flag2,Flag3,Flag4,Flag5,Flag6"

The flags will be OK, NA or an error message.  Here are the possible outputs for each Flag:

  • Flag 1 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV range" / "NA"
  • Flag 2 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV average range" / "NA"
  • Flag 3 Output: "OK" / "Frozen soil" / warning: "STC averaged using depth 1 & 2" / "NA"
  • Flag 4 Output: "OK" / "Out of RDC range" / "NA"
  • Flag 5 Output: "OK" / "DLT >= 1.5" / "NA"
  • Flag 6 Output: "OK" / "CON >= 0.2" / "NA"
  • Flag 1 "Out of WFV range": activated if the Soil Moisture (m3/m3) is less than 0.02 or greater than 0.60
  • Flag 2 "Out of WFV average range": activated if Soil Moisture value (m3/m3) is more than 10% different from the average, i.e. if there are sudden changes in soil moisture (these could be due to rain events or data noise; the flag is there to assist in interpretation along with rain gauge data)
  • Flag 3 "Frozen soil": activated if the soil temperature is below zero degrees Celsius and indicates that the soil moisture readings should not be used
  • Flag 3 "STC averaged using depth 1 & 2": activated when HydraProbe sensor #3 does not measure soil temperature.  The average soil temperature from sensor #1 and 2 is used instead.  Occurs at some ON stations.
  • Flag 4 "Out of RDC range": activated when Real Dielectric Constant (RDC) is less than 2.4
  • Flag 5 "DLT >= 1.5": activated when the Dielectric Loss Tangent (DLT = Imaginary Dielectric Constant / Real Dielectric Constant) is equal to or larger than 1.5
  • Flag 6 "CON >= 0.2": activated when temperature corrected soil conductivity (CON) is equal to or larger than 0.2 S/m.

The HydraProbe data is removed if real dielectric constant (RDC), conductivity (Con) or dielectric loss tangent is negative as it indicates a malfunctioning sensor.

V3.20141128: Applied November 28, 2014.

Updates: The soil moisture flags have not been modified from V2.20140214.

These updates apply to all RISMA data (June 2013 to current) downloaded between November 28, 2014, and the application date of the next data version.

V4.20170104: Applied January 4, 2017.

Updates: No specific updates were applied to the Saskatchewan stations.  The soil moisture flags remain similar to V2.20140214.

These updates apply to all RISMA data (June 2013 to current) downloaded between January 4, 2017, and the application date of the next data version.

Probe Status

Occasionally the HydroProbe sensors stop working.  While the surface (0-5 cm) and 5 cm probes are replace, the 20 cm and deeper probes are not replaced.  Replacement of the deep probes may result a significant shift in soil moisture due to the recent soil disturbance.  Table 9 and Table 10 identifies the sensors that are currently active from those who have been deemed non-responsive in 2014 and 2018, respectively.

Table 9 : List of sensors for the Saskatchewan stations that have been deemed unresponsive as of December 2014.
Station 0-5 cm 5 cm 20 cm 50 cm 100 cm 150 cm
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
SK1 A A A A A A A A A A A A A A NI A A NI
SK2 A A A A A A A A A A A A A A NI A A NI
SK3 A A A A A A A A A A A A A A NI A A NI
SK4 A A A A A A A A A A A A A A NI A A NI
"A" signifies sensors that are active,
"NI" signifies sensors which were never installed,
"NS" signifies sensors have been disconnected due to failure or anomalies
"R" for sensors which are replaced or reinserted on a regular basis.
Table 10: List of sensors for the Saskatchewan stations that have been deemed unresponsive as of October 2018.
Station 0-5 cm 5 cm 20 cm 50 cm 100 cm 150 cm
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
SK1 R R R A A A A A A A A A A A NI A A NI
SK2 R R R A A A A A A A A A A A NI A A NI
SK3 R R R A A A A A A A A A A A NI A A NI
SK4 R R R A A A A A A A A A A A NI A A NI
"A" signifies sensors that are active,
"NI" signifies sensors which were never installed,
"NS" signifies sensors have been disconnected due to failure or anomalies
"R" for sensors which are replaced or reinserted on a regular basis.
Note the surface (0-5 cm) probes will be annually reinserted starting in 2019.

References

L'Heureux, J.  (2011).  2011 Installation Report for AAFC‐SAGES Soil Moisture Stations in Kenaston, SK.  Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada, Regina, SK.

Ontario Real-time In-situ Soil Monitoring for Agriculture (RISMA) Network Metadata

The Ontario monitoring network (ON1 – ON5) was established in 2010 and 2011 by AAFC at a site of ongoing research in the development and validation of soil moisture retrieval models from active microwave satellites.  The network is situated near Casselman, about 50 km east of Ottawa (see Table 11 and Figure 13 ), in Canada's Mixed Wood Plain Ecozone.  The location of each station was selected based on soil texture variability across the area, as well as variability at the field level.  One additional station is located on Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada's Central Experimental Farm (CEF) in Ottawa.

In the fall of 2015, the ON1 station was discontinued and a new station, labelled ON6, was installed northwest of ON1 within the same soil texture.

The Ontario stations are located at the edge of agricultural fields with annual crops.  The fields are seeded in May and harvested in August through to September, leaving the fields fallow for the remainder of the year; often snow covered between December and April.  Annual crops generally grown in the area include corn, soybeans and wheat. The deeper (50 cm and 100 cm) soil moisture sensors are located in the field, about 5‐10 m away from the edge, while the shallow sensors (0-5 cm, 5 cm and 20 cm) are located in the grassy area at the edge of the field to avoid interference with farming operations. The Ontario stations record precipitation, as well as real dielectric constant, soil moisture and soil temperature at each depth. Many of the stations have a high water table and 100 cm sensors could only be installed at two stations (ON3 and ON5).  Three HydraProbe sensors, or replicas, are installed at each depth. This replication provides a measurement of spatial variability in soil moisture and redundancy in the event of sensor malfunction.

Station Location

Table 11: Ontario RISMA Station Locations.
Station ID Legal Land Description Easting Northing Latitude Longitude Status
ON1 CON 20 PT LOT 12 505020 5020462 45.33765 −74.93593 Inactive
ON2 CON 15 S PT LOT 9 504077 5027566 45.40160 −74.94790 Active
ON3 CON 17E PT LOT 18 500228 5023235 45.36263 −74.99708 Active
ON4 CON 8 PT GORE LOT CON 9 498489 5017836 45.31403 −75.01928 Active
ON5 CON 16 E PT LOT 18 499754 5024816 45.37686 −75.00314 Active
ON6 CON 18 W PT LOTS 9, 10 504701 5020723 45.3628 −74.93420 Active
CEF1 - 443652 5026024 45.38548 −75.71978 Active
 Note that Easting and Northing are provided in UTM Z18 WGS84.
Figure 13: Map of the Ontario RISMA stations located in the Casselman (Ontario) area.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Map of the Ontario RISMA stations located in the Casselman , Ontario, area.

  • ON2
    • Latitude  45.40
    • Longitude: - 74.95
  • ON5:
    • Latitude 45.38
    • Longitude: − 75.00
  • ON3:
    • Latitude 45.36
    • Longitude: − 75.00
  • ON6:
    • Latitude  45.36
    • Longitude: − 74.93
  • ON1 :
    • Latitude 45.34
    • Longitude: − 74.94
  • ON4 :
    • Latitude  45.31
    • Longitude: − 75.02

Instrumentation

Prior to June 2018, the following instrumentation was used:

  • Data Transmission: Adcon A755 GSM/GPRS Radio Telemetry Unit (RTU), powered by Adcon 9 VDC 460 mA battery and 4.3 W solar panel
  • Station power source: 40 W solar panels and 12V / 18 AH batteries
  • Soil moisture sensor: Steven's HydraProbe II (SDI‐12)
  • Rain gauge: Tipping bucket rain gauge (Adcon RG1 2mm)
  • Motion camera: Moultrie MCG-12589

In June 2018, the Ontario RISMA stations underwent a system change with updates to several of the components:

  • Datalogger: Campbell Scientific CR1000X measurement and control datalogger
  • Modem: Microhard Bullet-LTE modem on Bell 4G network
  • Station power source: 40 W solar panels with 12 V / 22 AH batteries
  • Soil moisture sensor: Steven's HydraProbe II (SDI‐12)
  • Rain gauge: Adcon RG12 mm tipping rain bucket
  • Motion camera: Moultrie MCG-12589

Installation Procedure

The stations (ON1 to ON5) were installed in the summer of 2010 and 2011.  In the fall of 2015, the ON1 station was discontinued and a new station within the same soil texture was installed northwest of ON1 and labelled ON6.  The Ontario stations were designed to be low maintenance and to avoid interference from agricultural machinery, particularly the soil moisture sensors.  The shallow soil moisture sensors are at the edge of the field, while the deeper soil moisture sensors are buried within the field.

General Setup

The stations consist of a datalogger, rain gauge, battery and solar panel (Figure 16) and installed on the edge of the field in a grassy area.  The surface (0-5 cm), 5 cm and 20 cm are considered to be the shallow probes and are located in the grassy area on the edge of the field.

Figure 14: An example of the Ontario station set up prior to June 2018 at station ON4.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

A photograph of a station setup that includes a RTU solar panel and antenna , a solar panel, rain gauge, enclosure for battery and RTU, 50 cm and 100 cm hydra probes, 5 cm and 20 cm hydra probes and a vertical surface hydra probes. The equipment is outside.

The Adcon RTU system had a limited number of variables it could record. For stations recording soil moisture at the 100 cm depth (ON3 and ON5), the soil temperature can only be recorded from two of the soil moisture probes at this depth in order to accommodate the additional space needed to record the soil moisture measurements from the 100 cm sensor.

In June 2018, a new datalogger and modem were installed. The datalogger and modem are now located inside the enclosure and the modem antenna is attached to the main pole below the rain bucket (Figure 15). This datalogger can handle significantly more variables and soil temperature at the 100 cm depth is recorded on all three replicates.

Figure 15: An example of the Ontario RISMA set up after June 2018 of station ON4.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

A photograph of a station setup that includes a solar panel, rain gauge, modem antenna, motion camera enclosure for battery and data logger, 5 cm and 20 cm soil moisture probes and vertical surface hydra probes and 0-5 cm (vertical) soil moisture probes. The equipment is outside surrounded by corn fields.

A rain tipping bucket gauge, is installed approximately 2.5 m above ground level, preventing interference from the crop, on the main pole of the station.  Additionally, the tipping rain bucket is installed on the opposite side of the pole from the solar panel, eliminating interference from the solar panel.  As the bucket measures rain fall only, it is removed from the station in late November and installed in April when temperatures are consistently above 0°C.

A motion camera is located inside a housing attached to the central pole.  The camera is set to take a photograph when movement is sensed.  The photographs are used to verify field activity and possible events affecting soil moisture readings (i.e. spraying).

Soil Moisture Probe Installation

The soil moisture probes were buried in two separate pits.  A small soil pit at edge of the field was dug for the 5 cm and 20 cm probes, while another deeper pit was dug in the field for the 50 cm and 100 cm probes.  The deeper pit is approximately 5 to 10 m from the edge of the field (Figure 16).  However, due to the high water table in the Casselman area, the 100 cm sensors could only be installed at two of the Ontario stations (ON3 and ON5).

Figure 16: Cross section view of the Ontario RISMA station set‐up; not to scale.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Illustration of the cross-view of an Ontario station. Depiction of probe locations and metric spacing. A sensor on the surface is placed in a grassed are 5 cm V (x3), under ground 5 cm (x3), 20 cm (x3). Spacing of 4.5 – 5 M and depth of 30-50 cm next to trench at field's edge. At the agricultural field sensors placed at a depth up to 120 cm: 50 cm (x3), 1 m (x3).

The soil pits were carefully excavated manually and the soil was carefully placed on a tarp. Additionally, trenches for the sensor’s wires were dug and soil was also placed on a tarp. After the soil pit was excavated, a small and a large undisturbed soil core were taken at each depth for analysis (Figure 17).

Figure 17: Photos showing soil cores taken as the soil pit was being excavated. a) small soil core being taken; and b) a large soil core being taken.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

photographs showing soil and soil placed on a small trap and a large trap for analysis.

The sensor locations were selected and flagged in the soil pit. Three sensors, or replicas, were installed at each depth. A large soil coring device (2 inch diameter × 6 inches long [5.08 × 15.24 cm]) was hammered vertically into the pit wall and the soil carefully set aside (Figure 18). The inside of the cavity left by the soil coring device was scraped clean and smooth as the soil moisture probes need to be installed flush with the soil surface. The soil moisture sensors were installed into the cavity left by the coring device using a short PVC pipe for leverage. The remainder of the soil core hole was filled with a mixture of soil and bentonite to prevent preferential flow towards the sensor. Once all sensors were installed, the soil pit and trench were carefully backfilled to prevent mixing of the soil layers.

Figure 18: Photos illustrating the installation of the HydraProbe sensors into the pit wall at one of the Ontario RISMA stations. a) making a hole for the soil moisture sensor; b) the smoothed walls of the soil core cavity; c) PVC pipe on a soil moisture probe; and d) inserting a soil moisture probe.
Description of this image follows
Description of the above image

Photograph showing a station worker making a hole with a hammer for the soil moisture sensor, a photo of soil core cavity, a photograph of station worker holding a PVC pipe on a soil moisture probe and a photo of a station worker inserting a soil moisture probe.

Regular Maintenance

Given their tendency to shift during freeze-thaw cycles, removal by animals and to effects of soil cracking, the vertical sensors (0-5 cm) are reinserted often to ensure measurements remain accurate. As well, the 5 cm sensors are affected by freeze-thaw cycles, often being heaved to the soil surface, and have to be reinstalled in the spring.

Each spring the area around the shallow soil moisture probes is hand tilled and planted with the same crop as in the field.  The plants in this plot are tended to mimic the conditions in the field which includes regularly weeding the plot by hand or cutting surrounding weeds with a weed trimmer.

CEF Station

The CEF station was installed in the summer of 2010 as an addition to an existing experiment at the Ottawa Research and Development Centre.  The station is installed within a fenced area which is cropped seasonally. The installation and setup of the station followed the same procedure as the Cassleman sites.  Soil texture analysis was complete earlier as part of the existing experiment on the field.

Soil Texture

The small undisturbed soil cores taken during the soil moisture probe instillation were analyzed to determine soil texture using the hydrometer method.

Table 12: Soil textures for Ontario RISMA Stations based on the soil core extracted during installation.
Station Depth
(cm)
Density
(g/cm3)
Sand
(%)
Silt
(%)
Clay
(%)
Classification
ON1 0-5 1.44 8.3 38.6 53.1 Clay
ON1 5 1.44 8.3 38.6 53.1 Clay
ON1 20 1.38 8.6 39.2 52.2 Clay
ON1 50 1.22 28.4 29.9 41.7 Clay
ON2 0-5 1.32 34.7 45.4 19.9 Loam
ON2 5 1.32 34.7 45.4 19.9 Loam
ON2 20 1.5 36.5 45.9 17.6 Loam
ON2 50 1.6 68.2 25.7 6.1 Sandy Loam
ON3 0-5 1.36 23.8 32.4 43.8 Clay
ON3 5 1.36 23.8 32.4 43.8 Clay
ON3 20 1.42 24.4 29.5 46.1 Clay
ON3 50 1.29 2.4 45.4 52.2 Silty Clay
ON4 0-5 1.36 28.1 43.1 28.8 Clay Loam
ON4 5 1.36 28.1 43.1 28.8 Clay Loam
ON4 20 1.42 10.6 32.8 56.6 Clay
ON4 50 1.29 2.4 53.3 44.3 Silty Clay
ON5 0-5 1.36 51.6 41.9 6.5 Sandy Loam
ON5 5 1.36 51.6 41.9 6.5 Sandy Loam
ON5 20 1.42 47.9 45.6 6.5 Sandy Loam
ON5 50 1.29 71.2 23.8 5 Sandy Loam
ON5 100 1.29 39.7 32.3 28 Clay Loam
ON6 0-5 1.44 8.3 38.6 53.1 Clay
ON6 5 1.44 8.3 38.6 53.1 Clay
ON6 20 1.38 8.6 39.2 52.2 Clay
ON6 50 1.22 28.4 29.9 41.7 Clay
Note that depth 0‐5 cm indicates the vertically installed surface sensors.

CEF Station

Soil texture analysis was completed prior to the instillation of the soil monitoring station as part of a previous experiment.  Soil texture analysis was provided (Gregorich, personal communication, 2019) during the instillation of the station.

Table 13: Soil textures for CEF RISMA Station based on soil texture analysis from the pre-existing experiment on the same site.
Station Sand
(%)
Silt
(%)
Clay
(%)
Classification
CEF1 67.9 20 12.1 Sandy loam

Soil Moisture Calibration Equations

The soil moisture calibration equations are based on Seyfried (2005) and Bellingham (2007).  Additionally, soil moisture calibrations were verified by field testing and lab calibration.  The soil cores from the sites were taken and site specific functions were developed, however the texture based equations from Seyfried (2005) and Bellingham (2007) were found to reduced error when compared to field collected gravimetric samples (Canisius, 2011).

Table 14: The soil moisture calibration equations for the Ontario RISMA stations.
Station Depth
(cm)
Equation
(x=RDCTempCorr=RDC *1.011 / (1.045-0.00225 * STC))
ON1 0-5 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464x2) + (0.0032414x3)) / 100
ON1 5 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464 x2) + (0.0032414 x3)) / 100
ON1 20 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464 x2) + (0.0032414 x3)) / 100
ON1 50 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464 x2) + (0.0032414 x3)) / 100
ON2 0-5 0.109 * √x − 0.179
ON2 5 0.109 * √x − 0.179
ON2 20 0.109 * √x − 0.179
ON2 50 0.109 * √x − 0.179
ON3 0-5 (‐20.93 + (6.553x) + (‐0.2464x2) + (0.0032414x3)) / 100
ON3 5 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464x2) + (0.0032414x3)) / 100
ON3 20 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464x2) + (0.0032414x3)) / 100
ON3 50 0.1088 * √x − 0.1738
ON3 100 0.1088 * √x − 0.1738
ON4 0-5 0.1033 * √x − 0.1768
ON4 5 0.1033 * √x − 0.1768
ON4 20 (−20.93 + (6.553x)   (−0.2464x2) + (0.0032414x3)) / 100
ON4 50 0.1088 * √x − 0.1738
ON5 0-5 0.1105 * √x − 0.1725
ON5 5 0.1105 * √x − 0.1725
ON5 20 0.109 * √x − 0.179
ON5 50 0.109 * √x − 0.179
ON5 100 0.1033 * √x − 0.1768
ON6 0-5 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464x2) + (0.0032414x3)) / 100
ON6 5 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464x2) + (0.0032414x3)) / 100
ON6 20 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464x2) + (0.0032414x3)) / 100
ON6 50 (−20.93 + (6.553x) + (−0.2464x2) + (0.0032414x3)) / 100

The soil moisture calibration equations output soil moisture as m3/m3.

RDCTempCorr is the temperature corrected Real Dielectric Constant
RDC is the non‐temperature corrected Real Dielectric Constant
STC is soil temperature in degrees Celsius.

CEF Station

The soil calibration equation for the CEF station uses Bellingham's (2007) Loam 1 equation on all sensor depths.

(0.109√x) – 0.179

Data

Sensor data is logged every 15 minutes and the data is updated on the AAFC internal server, SOS cloud server and the web portal once per hour.

Data format changed in 2013 with the installation of the additional sensors and the new dataloggers.  Data recorded prior to 2013 can be requested directly from Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada.  Data recorded after June 2013 is provided at the following data portal: Soil monitoring stations.  Current conditions, 15‐minute data series and daily data summaries can be visualized and downloaded through the portal.

The headers for the soil moisture sensors are constructed according to:

Depth of measurement in cm, replica or column number, parameter

  • #1 sensors were installed in column #1
  • #2 sensors were installed in column #2, which is the middle column (always located between column 1 and 3)
  • #3 sensors were installed in column #3

15 Minute Data

The following are examples of 15‐minute data headers for station ON2:

  • ON2 Reading Time (EST): Date and time of the data recordings in Local Standard Time (EST), 24 hour clock
  • ON2 Precipitation (mm): Total amount of rain in the past 15 minutes measured at a 2.5 m height, in mm
  • ON2 0-5 cm Depth Sensor 1 Temp (°C): Soil temperature (HydraProbe parameter F) measured at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) in column #1, in °C.
  • ON 2 0-5 cm Depth Sensor 1 WFV (%): Calibrated soil moisture as calculated based on the recorded RDC at 0‐5cm (vertical surface sensor) in column #1, in m3/m3.

The data from the remaining Stevens HydraProbe sensors follow the exact pattern as the example provided above.  The soil moisture measured by a 20 cm sensor in column #3, would have the following header:

ON2 20 cm Depth Sensor 3 WFV (%).

Note, the station ID in the header may be provided as ON_1 or ON1 depending on where the data is downloaded.  The data from the remaining Stevens HydraProbe sensors follow the exact pattern as the 0 to 5 cm_1 example provided above.  The soil moisture measured by a horizontal 5 cm sensor in column #2, would have the following header:

ON_1_Hydra_5cm_WFV_2.

The data files for all stations are structured exactly the same and the headers are the same with the exception of Station ID.

Daily Data

The daily data values provided at the data portal (Soil monitoring stations) are calculated from midnight Local Standard Time (EST for ON stations) for the previous 24 hour period.

The following is an example of the daily data headers for ON stations:

  • Reading Time (EST): Date, year-month-day
  • Precipitation Total (mm): Total daily amount of rain measured at 2.5 m height, in mm
  • 0-5 cm Depth Average (°C): Average daily soil temperature (HydraProbe parameter F) at 0‐5 cm (vertical surface sensor) for all columns, in °C
  • 0-5 cm Depth Average WFV (%): Average daily calibrated soil moisture at 0‐5cm (vertical surface sensor) for all columns, in %

The data from the remaining Stevens HydraProbe sensors follow the exact pattern as the example provided above.  The daily average soil moisture measured at 20-cm depth would have the following header:

20 cm Depth Average WFV (%).

Data Flags

The HydraProbe data has gone through a basic, automated QC procedure where data not meeting quality standards has either been removed or flagged.

Missing data and data removed by QC process is reported as "NoData" in the data columns and as NA in the flag columns.

The data flags have been modified over time.

V1.20130617: Applied June 27, 2013.

These data flags apply to data downloaded between June 17, 2013, and the application of the next data version.  Original QC Flags

"Flag1,Flag2,Flag3,Flag4,Flag5"

The flags will be OK, NA or an error message.  Here are the possible outputs for each Flag:

  • Flag 1 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV range" / "NA"
  • Flag 2 Output: "OK" / "Frozen soil" / "NA"
  • Flag 3 Output: "OK" / "Out of average range" / "NA"
  • Flag 4 Output: "OK" / "Readings below zero" / "NA"
  • Flag 5 Output: "OK" / "DLT > 2" / "NA"
  • Flag 1 "Out of WFV range": activated if Soil Moisture (m3/m3) is less than 0 or greater than 0.60.
  • Flag 2 "Frozen soil": activated if the soil temperature is below zero degrees Celsius and indicates that the soil moisture readings should not be used
  • Flag 3 "Out of WFV average range": activated if Soil Moisture value (m3/m3) is more than 10% different from the average, i.e. if there are sudden changes in soil moisture (these could be due to rain events or data noise; the flag is there to assist in interpretation along with rain gauge data).
  • Flag 4 "Readings below zero": activated if Real Dielectric Constant (RDC) is negative
  • Flag 5 "DLT > 2": activated if the Dielectric Loss Tangent (DLT = Imaginary Dielectric Constant / Real Dielectric Constant) is greater than 2.  Note that since Imaginary Dielectric Permittivity is not recorded at Ontario stations, this flag is not relevant.

V2.20140214: Applied February 14, 2014.

Updates: The automated QC protocol has been adjusted and the soil moisture flags modified.

These updates apply to all RISMA data (June 2013 to current) downloaded between February 14, 2014, and the application date of the next data version.

Meteorological data: The known bad data between June 2013 and November 2013 has been removed.  Soil Moisture QC Flags:

"Flag1,Flag2,Flag3,Flag4,Flag5,Flag6"

The flags will be OK, NA or an error message.  Here are the possible outputs for each Flag:

  • Flag 1 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV range" / "NA"
  • Flag 2 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV average range" / "NA"
  • Flag 3 Output: "OK" / "Frozen soil" / warning: "STC averaged using depth 1 & 2" / "NA"
  • Flag 4 Output: "OK" / "Out of RDC range" / "NA"
  • Flag 5 Output: "OK" / "DLT >= 1.5" / "NA" Flag 6  Output: "OK" / "CON >= 0.2" / "NA"
  • Flag 1 "Out of WFV range": activated if the Soil Moisture (m3/m3) is less than 0.02 or greater than 0.60
  • Flag 2 "Out of WFV average range": activated if Soil Moisture value (m3/m3) is more than 10% different from the average, i.e. if there are sudden changes in soil moisture (these could be due to rain events or data noise; the flag is there to assist in interpretation along with rain gauge data).
  • Flag 3 "Frozen soil": activated if the soil temperature is below zero degrees Celsius and indicates that the soil moisture readings should not be used
  • Flag 3 "STC averaged using depth 1 & 2": activated when HydraProbe sensor #3 does not measure soil temperature.  The average soil temperature from sensor #1 and 2 is used instead.  Occurs at some ON stations.
  • Flag 4 "Out of RDC range": activated when Real Dielectric Constant (RDC) is less than 2.4
  • Flag 5 "DLT >= 1.5": activated when the Dielectric Loss Tangent (DLT = Imaginary Dielectric Constant / Real Dielectric Constant) is equal to or larger than 1.5.  Note that since Imaginary Dielectric Permittivity is not recorded at Ontario stations, this flag is not relevant.
  • Flag 6 "CON >= 0.2": activated when temperature corrected soil conductivity (CON) is equal to or larger than 0.2S/m.  Note that since conductivity is not recorded at Ontario stations, this flag is not relevant.

The HydraProbe data is removed if real dielectric constant (RDC) is negative as it indicates a malfunctioning sensor.

V3.20141128: Applied November 28, 2014.

The soil moisture flags have not been modified from V2.20140214.

These updates apply to all RISMA data (June 2013 to current) downloaded between November 28, 2014, and the application date of the next data version.

V4.20170104: Applied January 4, 2017.

Updates: A new station ON6 has been installed in the Ontario network.  A new calibration equation has been implemented for this station and added to the QC automated protocol.  Station ON1 has been discontinued and removed from the QC automated protocol.  The soil moisture flags remain similar to V2.20140214.

These updates apply to all RISMA data (June 2013 to current) downloaded between January 4, 2017, and the application date of the next data version.

Non-responsive HydraProbe sensors: HydraProbe sensors that have been non-responsive at 20-cm depths and below will not be replaced with new sensors and thus are now being reported as "NoSensor".  Table 15 and Table 16 identifies the sensors that are currently active from those who have been deemed non-responsive.

V5.20171024: Applied October 24, 2017

Updates: three 100 cm probes have been installed in ON3 station.  The soil moisture flags remain similar to V2.20140214

V6.20180613: Applied on June 13, 2018

Updates: The Ontario stations have undergone an upgrade, including a datalogger capable of handling more sensors and channels.  With this upgrade, all RISMA stations have the same quality control procedure and flags.  The flags remain similar to Vs.20140214.

"Flag1,Flag2,Flag3,Flag4,Flag5,Flag6"

The flags will be OK, NA or an error message.  Here are the possible outputs for each Flag:

  • Flag 1 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV range" / "NA"
  • Flag 2 Output: "OK" / "Out of WFV average range" / "NA"
  • Flag 3 Output: "OK" / "Frozen soil"
  • Flag 4 Output: "OK" / "Out of RDC range" / "NA"
  • Flag 5 Output: "OK" / "DLT >= 1.5" / "NA"
  • Flag 6 Output: "OK" / "CON >= 0.2" / "NA"
  • Flag 1 "Out of WFV range": activated if the Soil Moisture (m3/m3) is less than 0.02 or greater than 0.60
  • Flag 2 "Out of WFV average range": activated if Soil Moisture value (m3/m3) is more than 10% different from the average, i.e. if there are sudden changes in soil moisture (these could be due to rain events or data noise; the flag is there to assist in interpretation along with rain gauge data).
  • Flag 3 "Frozen soil": activated if the soil temperature is below zero degrees Celsius and indicates that the soil moisture readings should not be used.
  • Flag 4 "Out of RDC range": activated when Real Dielectric Constant (RDC) is between 0 and 2.4.
  • Flag 5 "DLT >= 1.5": activated when the Dielectric Loss Tangent (DLT = Imaginary Dielectric Constant / Real Dielectric Constant) is equal to or larger than 1.5.
  • Flag 6 "CON >= 0.2": activated when temperature corrected soil conductivity (CON) is equal to or larger than 0.2 S/m.

The HydraProbe data is removed if real dielectric constant (RDC) is negative as it indicates a malfunctioning sensor.

Probe Status

Table 15: List of sensors for the Ontario stations that have been deemed unresponsive as of December 2014.
Stations 0-5 cm 5 cm 20 cm 50 cm 100 cm
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
ON1 R R R A A A A A A A A A NI NI NI
ON2 R R R R R R A A NS A A A NI NI NI
ON3 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
ON4 R R R R R R A A A A A A NI NI NI
ON5 R R R R R R A A A A A A A A A
CEF1 R R R R R R A A A A A A NI NI NI

"A" signifies sensors that are active
"NI" signifies sensors which were never installed
"NS" signifies sensors have been disconnected due to failure or anomalies
"R" for sensors which are replaced or reinserted on a regular basis.

Table 16: List of sensors for the Ontario stations that have been deemed unresponsive as of July 2018.
Stations 0-5 cm 5 cm 20 cm 50 cm 100 cm
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
ON1 DS DS DS DS DS DS DS DS DS DS DS DS NI NI NI
ON2 R R R R R NS A A A A A A NI NI NI
ON3 R R R R R R A A A A NS A A A A
ON4 R R R R R R A A A A A A NI NI NI
ON5 R R R R R R A A A A NS A A A A
ON6 R R R R R R A A A A A A NI NI NI
CEF1 R R R R R R A A A A A A NI NI NI

"A" signifies sensors that are active
"NI" signifies sensors which were never installed
"NS" signifies sensors have been disconnected due to failure or anomalies
"R" for sensors which are replaced or reinserted on a regular basis.

References

Bellingham, K.  (2007).  The Stevens HydraProbe Inorganic Soil Calibrations. Stevens Water Monitoring Systems, Portland, Oregon. 5pp.
www.stevenswater.com/resources/documentation/hydraprobe_inorganic_soil_calibrations.pdf (Accessed July 23, 2018).

Canisius, F.  (2011).  Calibration of Casselman, Ontario Soil Moisture Monitoring Network. Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada, Ottawa, ON. 37pp.

Seyfried, MS, LE Grant, E Du and K Humes.  (2005).  Dielectric Loss and Calibration of the HydraProbe Soil Water Sensor.  Vadose Zone Journal 4: 1070‐1079.