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An observing system simulation experiment for hydros radiometer-only soil moisture products

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10 Author(s)
W. T. Crow ; U.S. Dept. of Agric., Hydrology & Remote Sensing Lab., Beltsville, MD, USA ; S. T. K. Chan ; D. Entekhabi ; P. R. Houser
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Based on 1-km land surface model geophysical predictions within the United States Southern Great Plains (Red-Arkansas River basin), an observing system simulation experiment (OSSE) is carried out to assess the impact of land surface heterogeneity, instrument error, and parameter uncertainty on soil moisture products derived from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Hydrosphere State (Hydros) mission. Simulated retrieved soil moisture products are created using three distinct retrieval algorithms based on the characteristics of passive microwave measurements expected from Hydros. The accuracy of retrieval products is evaluated through comparisons with benchmark soil moisture fields obtained from direct aggregation of the original simulated soil moisture fields. The analysis provides a quantitative description of how land surface heterogeneity, instrument error, and inversion parameter uncertainty impacts propagate through the measurement and retrieval process to degrade the accuracy of Hydros soil moisture products. Results demonstrate that the discrete set of error sources captured by the OSSE induce root mean squared errors of between 2.0% and 4.5% volumetric in soil moisture retrievals within the basin. Algorithm robustness is also evaluated for the case of artificially enhanced vegetation water content (W) values within the basin. For large W(>3 kg·m-2), a distinct positive bias, attributable to the impact of sub- footprint-scale landcover heterogeneity, is identified in soil moisture retrievals. Prospects for the removal of this bias via a correction strategy for inland water and/or the implementation of an alternative aggregation strategy for surface vegetation and roughness parameters are discussed.

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IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 6 )