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A Combined Optical–Microwave Method to Retrieve Soil Moisture Over Vegetated Areas

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11 Author(s)
Mattar, C. ; Image Process. Lab., Univ. of Valencia, Paterna, Spain ; Wigneron, J.-P. ; Sobrino, J.A. ; Novello, N.
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A simple approach for correcting for the effect of vegetation in the estimation of the surface soil moisture (wS) from L-band passive microwave observations is presented in this study. The approach is based on semi-empirical relationships between soil moisture and the polarized reflectivity including the effect of the vegetation optical depth which is parameterized as a function of the normalized vegetation difference index (NDVI). The method was tested against in situ measurements collected over a grass site from 2004 to 2007 (SMOSREX experiment). Two polarizations (horizontal/vertical) and five incidence angles (20°, 30°, 40°, 50°, and 60°) were considered in the analysis. The best wS estimations were obtained when using both polarizations at an angle of 40°. The average accuracy in the soil moisture retrievals was found to be approximately 0.06 m3/m3, improving the estimations by 0.02 m3/m3 with respect to the case in which the vegetation effect is not considered. The results indicate that information on vegetation (through a vegetation index such as NDVI) is useful for the estimation of soil moisture through the semi-empirical regressions.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

May 2012

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