Soil Temperatures Increased in Illinois in the First Half of March, Illinois State Water Survey

ISWS Press Release

For Immediate Release March 17, 2015
Soil Temperatures Increased in Illinois in the First Half of March
Jennie Atkins, Ph.D. - (217) 333-4966,
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270,

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Soil temperatures at 4 inches under bare soil have increased 49 percent during the first half of March, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program Manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

Soil Moisture map for April 15th, 2014

Soil temperatures at 4 inches under bare soil averaged 45.8 degrees on March 15, up 15 degrees from March 1 and 5 degrees higher than in 2014. Increases were also seen at depths of 4 inches and 8 inches under sod, which averaged 42.7 degrees and 40.0 degrees, respectively, on March 15.

The highest temperatures were seen in southern Illinois with a regional average of 51.6 degrees at 4 inches under bare soil, 5 degrees above the 2014 average. Northern Illinois had the coolest temperatures, averaging just 38.8 degrees, but still 6 degrees above those in 2014.

The warmer temperatures and melting snows have resulted in wet soils across the state. Moisture levels at 2 inches averaged 0.40 water fraction by volume (wfv) on March 15, slightly above field capacity for most of the soils measured. Levels were highest in the south which had a regional average of 0.48 wfv.

Moisture levels were high throughout the soil column with most monitoring sites having values at or above field capacity from depths of 2 to 59 inches.

The Illinois State Water Survey’s WARM Program collects hourly and daily weather and soil information at 19 stations across the state.  Daily and monthly summaries can be found on the WARM website ( and in the Illinois Water and Climate Summary ( 

Maps of soil temperatures and moisture levels can also be found on the WARM website.


The Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a division of the Prairie Research Institute, is the primary agency in Illinois concerned with water and atmospheric resources.

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