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The Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) Global Monitoring (GM) mode offers an opportunity for global soil moisture (SM) monitoring at much finer spatial resolution than that provided by the currently operational Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System and future planned missions such as Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity and Soil Moisture Active Passive. Considering the difficulties in modeling the complex soil-vegetation scattering mechanisms and the great need of ancillary data for microwave backscatter SM inversion, algorithms based on temporal change are currently the best method to examine SM variability. This paper evaluates the spatial sensitivity of the ASAR GM surface SM product derived using the temporal change detection methodology developed by the Vienna University of Technology. This evaluation is made for an area in southeastern Australia using data from the National Airborne Field Experiment 2005. The spatial evaluation is made using three different types of SM data (station, field, and airborne) across several different scales (1-25 km). Results confirmed the expected better agreement when using point (R station = 0.75) data as compared to spatial (R PLMR, 1 km = 0.4) data. While the aircraft-ASAR GM correlation values at 1-km resolution were low, they significantly improved when averaged to 5 km (R PLMR, 5 km = 0.67) or coarser. Consequently, this assessment shows the ASAR GM potential for monitoring SM when averaged to a spatial resolution of at least 5 km.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:48 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: June 2010