Dresden (dpa/sn) - A digital soil moisture traffic light developed at the TU Dresden for the current state of Saxony's forests shows: They are too dry. According to information from Tuesday, the tool, which is available online, is intended to help foresters and the Sachsenforst state enterprise with important decisions in the future and also make it easy for laypeople to understand how the moisture in the soil is. Instruments available so far, such as the UFZ's drought monitor or the German Weather Service's (DWD) soil moisture viewer, are not detailed enough.
The interactive map created by meteorology professor Rico Kronenberg together with experts from Sachsenforst and a Dresden start-up shows the soil moisture at 100 locations. "It is not a measurement that decides whether a location is displayed in red, i.e. very dry, orange, green for normal or blue for very wet, but a simulation calculation," he said. The basis is a water balance model fed by retrieved observation data, which describes how water gets into the soil and vegetation.
The traffic light also shows the distribution of soil moisture over depth and its development over the years, allows conclusions to be drawn about the health of the plants or the trafficability of the forest floor, helps with cultivation planning and risk assessment and can be used to predict extreme events such as flash floods. The prototype is to be integrated into the platform and into the regional climate information system ReKIS by the end of the year. An extension to other areas than the forest is planned.