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Assessment of the operational applicability of RADARSAT-1 data for surface soil moisture estimation

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4 Author(s)
J. Alvarez-Mozos ; Lab. of Hydrology & Water Manage., Ghent Univ., Belgium ; J. Casali ; M. Gonzalez-Audicana ; N. E. C. Verhoest

The present paper focuses on the ability of currently available RADARSAT-1 data to estimate surface soil moisture over an agricultural catchment using the theoretical integral equation model (IEM). Five RADARSAT-1 scenes acquired over Navarre (north of Spain) between February 27, 2003 and April 2, 2003 have been processed. Soil moisture was measured at different fields within the catchment. Roughness measurements were collected in order to obtain representative roughness parameters for the different tillage classes. The influence of the cereal crop that covered most of the fields was taken into account using the semiempirical water cloud model. The IEM was run in forward and inverse mode using vegetation corrected RADARSAT-1 data and surface roughness observations. Results showed a great dispersion between IEM simulations and observations at the field scale, leading to inaccurate estimations. As the surface correlation length is the most difficult parameter to measure, different approaches for its estimation have been tested. This analysis revealed that the spatial variability in the surface roughness parameters seems to be the reason for the dispersion observed rather than a deficient measurement of the correlation length. At the catchment scale, IEM simulations were in good agreement with observations. The error values obtained in the inverse simulations were in the range of in situ soil moisture measuring methods (0.04 cm3·cm-3). Taking into account the small size of the catchment studied, these results are encouraging from a hydrological point of view.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 4 )