Plant available soil moisture gravimetric observations
and maps, 1987-1988
Former Soviet Union
Data for agricultural fields with winter and spring
Department of Meteorology,
University of Maryland
Russian Hydrometeorological Center, Moscow
Scripps Institute of
University of California, San Diego
Ukrainian Research Institute for Environment and Resources,
1. DESCRIPTION OF THE DATA SET
This data set is the output of a system for monitoring of soil
moisture at agricultural fields in the former Soviet Union. This
system has been run by Dr. Vladimir Zabelin for the last few decades.
The data set contains plant available soil moisture for the upper
20 cm and 1 m soil layers at agricultural fields with winter cereal
crops and spring cereal crops (given separately) for 102 administrative
districts of the former Soviet Union. The measurements of six
stations (on the average) were used for each district with equal
The data for the Ukraine have been updated from 1958 through 2002 (To get the
updated data, click here).
For more information, see Robock et al. (2004).
SPATIAL DOMAIN: The grain belt of the former Soviet Union (Russia,
Ukraine, Byelorussia, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and
SPATIAL RESOLUTION: On average, the area of each district is about
30,000 km2 (ranging from 10,000 to more than 100,000
TEMPORAL DOMAIN: 1987-1988; the growing period, from April 8 to
October 28, for each year.
TEMPORAL RESOLUTION: 10-11 days (3 measurements per month).
BASIS: Gravimetric soil moisture observations from about six hundred
The data for 1987-1988 are a small part of the full data set.
The full data set of soil moisture in the upper 1 m soil layer
during 1958-1996 for Russia and the Ukraine, and during 1958-1991 for others
of the former Soviet Union (Byelorussia, Moldova, Lithuania,
Latvia, Estonia, and Kazakhstan), is being prepared now. Soil moisture
data for the upper 20 cm layer were lost for 1958-1975, but are
available from 1976. Only the data from Russia and the Ukraine
are available from
1991 due to the disintegration of the former Soviet Union.
These data have never before been released to the international
scientific community. There are no publications describing these
data in the Russian scientific literature. The data set for 1987-1988
has been prepared for use in the ISLSCP
Global Soil Wetness Project
for validation of model estimated soil moisture variations. A
paper describing these data is in preparation.
These data are stored in the files Data8788/dat.*. The * stands
for the variables w100, w20, s100, s20, wr, sr, where the character
"s" or "w" means that the data represent agricultural
fields with "spring" or "winter" cereal crops.
The "20" or "100" refer to the depth of the
soil layer in cm, and the "r" means that it is the ratio
of plant available soil moisture content in the 20 cm and 100
The files Data8788/dat.* for w100, w20, s100 and s20 have the
Fortran format (x,i3,2x,f5.2,x,f6.2,x,i3,73f5.1). Each line in
these files contains:
the district conventional number [INTEGER (i3)],
the latitude (°N) and longitude (°E) of the center of
the district [REAL (f5.2,x,f6.2)],
73 values of plant available soil moisture in cm [REAL (73f5.1].
The first one is for December 28, 1986 the second value is for
January 8, 1987, etc., 3 times per month (on the 8th, 18th and
28th of each month); the last value is for December 28, 1988.
The files Data8788/dat.wr and Data8788/dat.sr have the Fortran
format (x,i3,2x,f5.2,x,f6.2,x,i3,73f7.3). The variables are the
same as above, but with a different format for the data.
The list of the names of the 102 administrative districts of the
Former Soviet Union for which we have time series of data, and
45 districts for which we have climatologies (in data set RUSWET-AGROCLIM),
their station numbers which are used instead of station names
in the GrADS station files, geographical coordinates, and areas
are given in the file Data8788/station.list.
2. GrADS FILES
The Fortran program Prog/read8788.f is designed for reading the
initial data and for writing them as GrADS station files Grads/st.*.
The GrADS station data descriptor files have names Grads/st.*.ctl.
Station map files are Grads/sta.map.* .
The GrADS station data function OACRES with default parameters
was used to interpolate the initial data into a 1x1° grid,
using the GrADS exec Grads/run.write. The results of interpolation
were written as the GrADS gridded files Grads/grd.*. Their GrADS
descriptors are in Grads/grd.*.ctl.
3. SOIL MOISTURE MAPS 1987-1988
Maps of plant available soil moisture for the territory
of the Former Soviet Union can be displayed using GrADS using
the three execs: Grads/mp, Grads/mpc, Grads/mpc3.
The 'mp' exec displays in landscape mode both a contour map of
soil moisture for each of variables and the district data. At
the end of each exec, GrADS commands for drawing such maps for
each date of observation for the each of the variables w100, w20,
s100, and s20 are attached as comments.
The 'mpc' exec displays in landscape mode a color shaded map of
soil moisture for the same variables. At the end of the exec,
the GrADS commands for drawing such maps for each date of observation
for each of the variables are attached as comments.
The 'mpc3' exec displays in portrait mode on one page three color
shaded maps of plant available water content in the soil layers
0-100 cm, and 0-20 cm, and a map of the ratio of plant available
water content (%) in the upper 20 cm and 100 cm soil layers. At
the end of the exec, the GrADS commands for drawing such maps
for each date of observation during 1987-1988 are attached as
You can use these GrADS files to write your own routines to display
and analyze the data in many different ways.
Acknowledgments. This work has been supported by NASA grant
NCC555 and NOAA grant NA56GPO212.
General description of Russian gravimetric soil moisture data
Entin, Jared, Alan Robock, Konstantin Y. Vinnikov, Shuang Qiu, Vladimir Zabelin,
Suxia Liu, A. Namkhai, and Ts. Adyasuren, 1999: Evaluation of Global Soil
Wetness Project soil moisture simulations. J. Meteorol. Soc. Japan, 77,
183-198. (Invited paper)
Robock, A., K. Y. Vinnikov, C. A. Schlosser, N. A. Speranskaya,
and Y. Xue, 1995: Use of midlatitude soil moisture and meteorological
observations to validate soil moisture simulations with biosphere
and bucket models. J. Climate, 8, 15-35.
Robock, Alan, Mingquan Mu, Konstantin Vinnikov, Iryna
Trofimova, and Tatyjana Adamenko, 2004: Forty five Years of observed soil
moisture in the Ukraine: No summer desiccation (yet). Submitted to Geophys.
Res. Lett. PDF
Supplemental Material (Maps of Winter and Spring Cereal Stations, and Table
of 25 Agricultural Districts)
Vinnikov, K. Y. and I. B. Yeserkepova, 1991. Soil moisture: empirical
data and model results. J. Climate, 4, 66-79.
Vinnikov, K. Y. , A. Robock, N. A. Speranskaya, and C. A. Schlosser,
1996: Scales of temporal and spatial variability of midlatitude
soil moisture. J. Geophys. Res., 101, 7163-7174.
Recommended Russian publications and reference books:
Kelchevskaya, L. S., 1983: Soil moisture of the European part
of USSR. Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad, 183 pp. (In Russian).
Kelchevskaya, L. S., Ed., 1989: Mean long term stores of productive
water under winter and early spring cereals in districts, regions,
republics and economic regions. Reference book. Vol. 2. Urals,
Western and Eastern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia. Gidrometeoizdat,
Leningrad, 65 pp. (in Russian).
Meshcherskaya, A. V., N. A. Boldyreva, and N. D. Shapaeva, 1982:
District average plant available soil water storage and the depth
of snow cover. Statistical analysis and its usage (some examples).
Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad, 243 pp. (In Russian).
Zhukov, V. A., Ed., 1986: Mean long term stores of productive
water under winter and early spring cereals in districts, regions,
republics and economic regions. Reference book. Vol. 1. European
part of the USSR. Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad, 122 pp. (in Russian).
For further information, please contact:
|Dr. Konstantin Ya. Vinnikov ||OR
||Prof. Alan Robock|
|Department of Meteorology||
||Department of Environmental Sciences|
|University of Maryland||
||Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey|
|College Park, Maryland 20742 USA||
||New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901 USA|
|Phone: (301) 405-5382||
||Phone: (732) 932-9478|
|Fax: (301) 314-9482||Fax:
TO DOWNLOAD THE DATA,
get the complete contents of each of the directories and subdirectories,
Prepared by Alan Robock
Last updated on August 8, 2004