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An Algorithm for Merging SMAP Radiometer and Radar Data for High-Resolution Soil-Moisture Retrieval

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3 Author(s)
Narendra N. Das ; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA ; Dara Entekhabi ; Eni G. Njoku

A robust and simple algorithm is developed to merge L-band radiometer retrievals and L-band radar observations to obtain high-resolution (9-km) soil-moisture estimates from data of the NASA Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) mission. The algorithm exploits the established accuracy of coarse-scale radiometer soil-moisture retrievals and blends this with the fine-scale spatial heterogeneity detectable by radar observations to produce a high-resolution optimal soil-moisture estimate at 9 km. The capability of the algorithm is demonstrated by implementing the approach using the airborne Passive and Active L-band System (PALS) instrument data set from Soil Moisture Experiments 2002 (SMEX02) and a four-month synthetic data set in an Observation System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) framework. The results indicate that the algorithm has the potential to obtain better soil-moisture accuracy at a high resolution and show an improvement in root-mean-square error of 0.015-0.02-cm3/cm3 volumetric soil moisture over the minimum performance taken to be retrievals based on radiometer measurements resampled to a finer scale. These results are based on PALS data from SMEX02 and a four-month OSSE data set and need to be further confirmed for different hydroclimatic regions using airborne data sets from prelaunch calibration/validation field campaigns of the SMAP mission.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 5 )