Finally, the Land Information System in AWIPS

NWS Huntsville’s AWIPS D2D system is now configured to successfully process and display output from the NASA SPoRT Land Information System (LIS).  The data being viewed thus far is a 1-kilometer version centered on the state of Alabama to support NWS Birmingham’s convective initiation project, but there is a larger domain which could be supported sometime in the future.

LIS 0-10cm Layer Soil Temperature, 2100 UTC 24 March 2011

LIS 0-10cm Layer Soil Temperature, 2100 UTC 24 March 2011

LIS 0-10cm Relative Soil Moisture, 2100 UTC 24 March 2011

LIS 0-10cm Relative Soil Moisture, 2100 UTC 24 March 2011

6 thoughts on “Finally, the Land Information System in AWIPS

  1. Great work, Brian!
    SPoRT is also currently running LIS at 3-km resolution over the SE ~2/3 of the U.S. We’re looking to expand to 4-km CONUS soon on our new Weather-in-a-box computing cluster!

  2. Hey Brian, This is great stuff! I’m wanting to know more about the soil moisture products though. How are these derived and what is the climatology used for the soil moisture percentages?

    These data could potentially be very useful for drought monitoring purposes and for input to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

    Kris White
    NWS Huntsville, AL

  3. @Kris, I will have to defer to Jon Case about the exact calculation, but there is a definitive calculation involving wilting point and saturation. You’d probably be more interested in the “relative” soil moisture product instead of the “plain” soil moisture product, if I’m not mistaken. The SSH at BMX is using it for the same drought purposes if I’m not mistaken.

    @Gary, NWS Birmingham used the LIS variables (such as soil temperature and sensible heat flux) to indicate where there might be a thermal boundary where convection might form. Along the same lines of what Kris just asked, the BMX hydrologist is using the soil moisture products to help diagnose drought conditions. I used the skin temperature product (not posted here) on a few occasions over the winter to determine snowfall accumulation potential on the roads. I think we’ll find more opportunities as the LIS becomes more visible at more offices.

  4. Great conversations everyone!

    For cross-examining some of these LIS fields, I recommend examining the LIS graphics page at:

    LIS training:
    I just finished a first draft script for a LIS training module, based on my 2011 AMS talk. There’s lots more to work in, especially as we receive valuable feedback such as the comments in this blog post.

    Relative soil moisture:
    The relative soil moisture (RSM), or soil moisture available water, is the ratio between the soil’s wilting and saturation points:

    RSM = (SMC – SMCwilt)/(SMCsat – SMCwilt)

    where SMC = volumetric soil moisture content.
    SMCwilt is the point at which vegetation can no longer extract moisture from the soil. SMCsat is the point at which soil can no longer hold any more water (i.e. field capacity). If the soil reaches saturation, then additional precipitation or snowmelt would go entirely to runoff.

    This field could be potentially helpful in diagnosing both drought and hydrological situations.


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