Blindish R., T. J. Jackson, A. J. Gasiewski, M. Klein and E. G. Njoku (July 2006): Soil moisture mapping and AMSR-E validation using the PSR in SMEX02. Remote Sens. Environ., 103 (2), 127-139. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2005.02.003

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Field experiments (SMEX02) were conducted to evaluate the effects of dense agricultural crop conditions on soil moisture retrieval using passive microwave remote sensing. Aircraft observations were collected using a new version of the Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer (PSR) that provided four C band and four X band frequencies. Observations were also available from the Aqua satellite Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) at these same frequencies. SMEX02 was conducted over a three-week period during the summer near Ames, Iowa. Corn and soybeans dominate the region. During the study period the corn was approaching its peak water content state and the soybeans were at the mid point of the growth cycle. Aircraft observations are compared to ground observations. Subsequently models are developed to describe the effects of corn and soybeans on soil moisture retrieval. Multiple altitude aircraft brightness temperatures were compared to AMSR-E observations to understand brightness temperature scaling and provide validation. The X-band observations from the two sensors were in reasonable agreement. The AMSR-E C-band observations were contaminated with anthropogenic RFI, which made comparison to the PSR invalid. Aircraft data along with ancillary data were used in a retrieval algorithm to map soil moisture. The PSR estimated soil moisture retrievals on a field-by-field comparison had a standard error of estimate (SEE) of 5.5%. The error reduced when high altitude soil moisture estimates were aggregated to 25 km resolution (same as AMSR-E EASE grid product resolution) (SEE ∼ 2.85%). These soil moisture products provide a validation of the AMSR retrievals. PSR/CX soil moisture images show spatial and temporal patterns consistent with meteorological and soil conditions. The dynamic range of the PSR/CX observations indicates that reasonable soil moisture estimates can be obtained from AMSR, even in areas of high vegetation biomass content (∼ 4–8 kg/m2).

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2005.02.003