Skip to Main Content
The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) holds promise for retrieving soil moisture in regions with low levels of vegetation. Algorithms for this purpose have been proposed, but none have been rigorously evaluated due to a lack of datasets. Accordingly, the Southern Great Plains 1999 Experiment (SGP99) was designed to provide C-band datasets for AMSR algorithm development and validation. Ground observations of soil moisture and related variables were collected in conjunction with aircraft measurements using a C-band radiometer similar to the AMSR sensor (6.92 GHz), the Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer with its C-band scanhead (PSR/C). The study region has been the focus of several previous remote sensing field experiments and contains vegetation conditions compatible with the expected capabilities of C-band for soil moisture retrieval. Flights were conducted under a wide range of soil moisture conditions, thus providing a robust dataset for validation. A significant issue found in data processing was the removal of anthropogenic radio-frequency interference. Several approaches to estimating the parameters of a single-channel soil moisture retrieval algorithm were used. PSR/C soil moisture images show spatial and temporal patterns consistent with meteorological and soil conditions, and the dynamic range of the PSR/C observations indicates that the AMSR instrument can provide useful soil moisture information.