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Soil Moisture Effect on Thermal Infrared (8–13-μm) Emissivity

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9 Author(s)
Maria Mira ; Department of Earth Physics and Thermodynamics, Faculty of Physics, University of Valencia, Burjassot, Spain ; Enric Valor ; Vicente Caselles ; Eva Rubio
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Thermal infrared (TIR) emissivities of soils with different textures were measured for several soil moisture (SM) contents under controlled conditions using the Box method and a high-precision multichannel TIR radiometer. The results showed a common increase of emissivity with SM at water contents lower than the field capacity. However, this dependence is negligible for higher water contents. The highest emissivity variations were observed in sandy soils, particularly in the 8-9-μm range due to water adhering to soil grains and decreasing the reflectance in the 8-9-μm quartz doublet region. Thus, in order to model the emissivity dependence on soil water content, different approaches were studied according to the a priori soil information. Soil-specific relationships were provided for each soil texture and different spectral bands between 8 and 13 μm, with determination coefficients up to 0.99, and standard estimation errors in emissivity lower than ± 0.014. When considering a general relationship for all soil types, standard estimation errors up to ±0.03 were obtained. However, if other soil properties (i.e., organic matter, quartz, and carbonate contents) were considered, along with soil water content, the general relationship predicted TIR emissivities with a standard estimation error of less than ±0.008. Furthermore, the study showed the possibility of retrieving SM from TIR emissivities with a standard estimation error of about ±0.08 m3 . m-3.

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IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 5 )