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A Quasi-Global Evaluation System for Satellite-Based Surface Soil Moisture Retrievals

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3 Author(s)
Crow, W.T. ; Hydrol. & Remote Sensing Lab. (HRSL), U.S. Dept. of Agric., Beltsville, MD, USA ; Miralles, D.G. ; Cosh, M.H.

A recently developed data assimilation technique offers the potential to greatly expand the geographic domain over which remotely sensed surface soil moisture retrievals can be evaluated by effectively substituting (relatively plentiful) rain-gauge observations for (less commonly available) ground-based soil moisture measurements. The technique is based on calculating the Pearson correlation coefficient (Rvalue) between rainfall errors and Kalman filter analysis increments realized during the assimilation of a remotely sensed soil moisture product into the antecedent precipitation index (API). Here, the existing Rvalue approach is modified by reformulating it to run on an anomaly basis where long-term seasonal trends are explicitly removed and by calculating API analysis increments using a Rauch-Tung-Striebel smoother instead of a Kalman filter. This reformulated approach is then applied to a number of Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer soil moisture products acquired within three heavily instrumented watershed sites in the southern U.S. Rvalue -based evaluations of soil moisture products within these sites are verified based on comparisons with available ground-based soil moisture measurements. Results demonstrate that, without access to ground-based soil moisture measurements, the Rvalue methodology can accurately mimic anomaly correlation coefficients calculated between remotely sensed soil moisture products and soil moisture observations obtained from dense ground-based networks. Sensitivity results also indicate that the predictive skill of the Rvalue metric is enhanced by both proposed modifications to its methodology. Finally, Rvalue calculations are expanded to a quasi-global (50? S-50? N) domain using rainfall measurements derived from the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission Precipitation Analysis. Spatial patterns in calculated Rvalue fields are compared to regions of strong- - land-atmosphere coupling and used to refine expectations concerning the global distribution of land areas in which remotely sensed surface soil moisture retrievals will contribute to atmospheric forecasting applications.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 6 )