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Evaluating Strategies for Climate Change in Arizona using Adafruit IO #IoTuesday #Weather #FromTheForums @adafruit @adafruitio @arizonadeq

From the Adafruit forums, user Biod101 details how the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is using to evaluate “how applying mulch might reduce demand for irrigation”…

The desert Southwest is experiencing record-high temperatures coupled with severe drought. In prior years, the monsoon season (mid-June through September) provided relief through daily afternoon thunderstorms, but the trend these days is one of brief, intense storms followed by weeks of dry weather. This trend is increasing demand for supplemental water resources in Arizona, which are pumped uphill from distant reservoirs like Lake Havasu requiring fossil fuels.

Hans Huth is a hydrologist with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). Hans was interested in understanding how applying mulch to desert landscapes might reduce demand for irrigation, so he set up an experiment in his backyard using a Feather Huzzah ESP8266 coupled with air and soil temperature sensors (SHT10 and AM2315). The Feather Huzzah reports data to an Adafruit IO dashboard once every 40 seconds. He compared air temperatures and soil temperatures between an uncovered and subsequently mulch-covered basin in his backyard over time. He executed this experiment by measuring the temperature response before and after an intense summer monsoon, and then applying mulch to the basin to see how temperature dynamics would change. His experiment demonstrated that a thin layer of mulch can lower soil temperatures by 12 degrees Fahrenheit, thus reducing soil-water evaporation. He concluded that mulch can serve as an important tool to decrease irrigation demand, while strengthening climate change resiliency in the desert Southwest. He will soon be adding Stemma Soil sensors to his basin to measure water movement in shallow and deep-soil profiles over time.

You can view the experiment’s live Adafruit IO Dashboard here.

See the forum post for more details including a video of the experiment and a detailed listing of the equipment used

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