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Playing with Soils: GLOBE Nigeria Sets To Join SMAP Student Field Campaign


My first empirical contact with the soil started almost 10 years ago when I was writing my B.Sc Dissertation on Grain Size Characteristics of Overbank Deposit on the Floodplains of Opa Reservoir Basin SW Nigeria. While undergoing this research I took 200 core bulk soil sediments along the three selected floodplains coupled with laboratory testing of samples, after a year the research was published by International Journal of Environmental Hydrology. http://www.hydroweb.com/journal-hydrology-2007-paper-22.html

The SMAP training at LA during the 20th GLOBE Annual and Partners Meeting propelled my passion towards the SMAP Student Field Campaign. As Dr. Erika Podest said in one of her presentations at LA “Your participation in SMAP field campaign will help us to validate SMAP findings knowing that soil moisture is very dynamic”.

In 2016, Nigeria will be joining other GLOBE countries to participate in the SMAP Student Field Campaign, initially this task deemed impossible due to lack of equipments but thanks to Dr. Dixon Butler’s YLACES program for purchasing the necessary equipments for the campaign.

Two schools will be involved in the campaign, one from Northcentral Nigeria and the other from Southwestern Nigeria. Also, Nigerian Space Agency’s Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics will also be involved in the campaign.

The SMAP-GLOBE Student Field Campaign in Nigeria will contribute observations for SMAP data validation by involving GLOBE Students, Teachers and Citizen Scientists in data collection and observation. Soil moisture is a key variable in controlling the exchange of water and heat energy between the land surface and the atmosphere through evaporation and plant transpiration. As a result, soil moisture plays an important role in the development of weather patterns and the production of precipitation. Also during the campaign in Nigeria, Each school will take samples from multiple sites within 20 km of the school. The data will be reported to GLOBE and contribute to the GLOBE/SMAP Soil Moisture Measurement Field Campaign running from October 2015 through April 2016. GLOBE students in Nigeria will be able to provide questions for further investigation;

  1. How many weeks of the year is your soil relatively wet or relatively dry?
  2. Which areas around your school are usually dry or wet? Why?

Students will also be introduced to the concept of soil moisture, soil texture. Students will  be introduced to the concept that soil holds water and that there are many variables affecting how much water holds.

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