What is soil moisture?
Soil moisture is “the total amount of water, including the water vapor, in an unsaturated soil.” Soil moisture—sometimes also called soil water—represents the water in land surfaces that is not in rivers, lakes, or groundwater, but instead resides in the pores of the soil. The level of soil moisture is determined by a host of factors beyond weather conditions, including soil type and associated vegetation. In turn, soil moisture levels affect a range of soil and plant dynamics. Surface soil moisture is the water that is in the upper 10 cm of soil, whereas root zone soil moisture is the water that is available to plants—generally considered to be in the upper 200 cm of soil.
Source: NOAA, NIDIS
Explore soil moisture trends for different locations by selecting different stations and years.