Pedosphere Overview - Teachers Guide

Pedosphere (Soil)

The varying components found within soil can drastically alter its ability to retain water, house nutrients, and support life. Collecting data on an region's soil temperature, moisture, and chemical properties is critical to researchers across the scientific spectrum. From climatologists to anthropologists, studying the ground beneath our feet is an invaluable way to discover our changing world and even our own history.
We can even study the pedosphere from space! Scientists on NASA's SMAP satellite mission track the ground's water content via orbiting satellites and can produce global soil moisture maps every three days. However, these researchers also need ground-level measurements in which to compare their satellite data. This is where GLOBE students and scientists can help out. By collecting and measuring your local soil as the SMAP spacecraft orbits overhead, you can provide the best comparable data for NASA scientists to validate the satellite's data. To make sure this data is comparable from site to site, GLOBE students and scientists use GLOBE-approved instruments and follow rigorous protocols


In this investigation, you can find:

  • Learning activities focused on scientific concepts, measurement collection methodologies, and exercises on how to understand data
  • Field guides for each hydrosphere protocol
  • An Investigation Appendix that contains:
    • Data sheets for all land cover and biology protocols
    • A soil textural triangle
    • A glossary of relevant terminology


You can view the GLOBE Pedosphere Investigation in the six United Nations languages:

2005 Editions: Arabic | French | Spanish 

1997 Editions: ChinesePortugueseRussian

General Pedosphere (Soil) Documents