Quality control of soil water data in applied climate information system-case study in Nebraska

Jinshing You, Kenneth G. Hubbard, Rezaul Mahmood, Venkataramana Sridhar, Dennis Todey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soil moisture is a key state variable from both climate and hydrologic cycle assessment perspectives. Recently, automated measurements of soil moisture with sensors deployed at sites in a real-time monitoring network have provided valuable new data to monitor the soil water resource. However, to assure the quality of the data, quality control (QC) tools are needed. Earlier studies left little literature on the QC of soil water data as measurements were generally not part of a network that routinely collected measurements. This paper presents a systematic QC analysis and methodology to evaluate the performance of candidate QC techniques using a spatially-extensive soil water data set. The six tests included are based on the general behavior of soil moisture, the statistical characteristics of the measurements, the soil properties, and the precipitation measurements. The threshold, step change, and spatial regression test proved most effective in identifying data problems. The results demonstrate that these methods will lead to early identification of potential instrument failures and other disturbances to the soil water measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number009003QHE
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hydrologic Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Applied Climate Information System (ACIS)
  • Automated Weather Data Network (AWDN)
  • Nebraska
  • Quality control
  • Soil water
  • Soil water data
  • Theta probe
  • Vitel probe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science(all)


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