MSE Research Project Database

Analysis and Forecasting of Soil Water Storage for Rain-fed Agriculture

Project Leader: Andrew Western
Collaborators: Dr Heye Bogena (Forschungszentrum J├╝lich)
Primary Contact: Andrew Western (
Keywords: hydroclimatology; hydrologic remote sensing; hydrology; water resources
Disciplines: Infrastructure Engineering
Domains: Optimisation of resources and infrastructure

Soil water is a critical resource in many agricultural systems.  Climate variability represents a significant risk in these systems, which has been addressed in the past through seasonal weather outlooks.  A pilot assessment of the potential to extend season weather outlooks to plant available soil water (PASW) (Western et al., in review) has shown promising results with soil water being more forecastable than rainfall.  A variety of key research challenges need to be addressed to progress this pilot to a point where it could be operationally implemented by weather agencies such as the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.  This proposed project will address these issues through a collaborative PhD project involving Prof Andrew Western (UoM) and Dr Heye Bogena (Jülich).  


The forecasting methods will involve integration of the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSISM) with meteorological observations and seasonal weather forecasts.  The project will utilise information from Cosmic Ray Soil Moisture Probe network data from both Australia (Cosmoz network) and Europe (TERENO Observatory) in testing the methods developed.  Prof Western and Dr Bogena both have strong and complementary soil water expertise encompassing modelling, remote sensing and field measurement.

Soil water forecast for Birchip March 2008