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NERC-funded COSMOS-UK network

Henfaes has recently become part of the NERC-funded COSMOS long-term soil moisture measurement network. The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) are co-ordinating the network of ca. 30 sites, which aims to deliver soil moisture data in near-real time from a network of stations installed across the UK on different land uses. The network of instruments exploit cosmic-rays to measure and integrate soil moisture content over a broad area (field-scale), which is a far greater area than traditional methods of measuring soil moisture. Weather data are also recorded at each site.

The aim is for these real-time data to be used in a range of applied agricultural and environmental applications, e.g. to improve prediction of potential flooding; to determine the severity of droughts; and to inform better water resource use efficiency in crop production and give better crop yield forecasts automatically to deliver data from these remote sites.

At Henfaes, the equipment has been installed on an area of sheep-grazed upland pasture on the ffridd (enclosed upland, Photo 1) at ca. 200m asl. Soil moisture and weather data from the Henfaes COSMOS site, and other COSMOS-UK sites, can be seen here.

Photo 1. COSMOS site at Henfaes.