UCSC-SOE-23-13: A Heterogeneous Spatial Model for Soil Carbon Mapping of the Contiguous United States Using VNIR Spectra

Paul A. Parkerand B runo Sansó
11/27/2023 10:06 AM
The Rapid Carbon Assessment, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was implemented in order to obtain a representative sample of soil organic carbon across the contiguous United States. In conjunction with a statistical model, the dataset allows for mapping of soil carbon prediction across the U.S., however there are two primary challenges to such an effort. First, there exists a large degree of heterogeneity in the data, whereby both the first and second moments of the data generating process seem to vary both spatially and for different land-use categories. Second, the majority of the sampled locations do not actually have lab measured values for soil organic carbon. Rather, visible and near-infrared (VNIR) spectra were measured at most locations, which act as a proxy to help predict carbon content. Thus, we develop a heterogeneous model to analyze this data that allows both the mean and the variance to vary as a function of space as well as land-use category, while incorporating VNIR spectra as covariates. After a cross-validation study that establishes the effectiveness of the model, we construct a complete map of soil organic carbon for the contiguous U.S. along with uncertainty quantification.