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Ground-based passive microwave remote sensing observations of soil moisture at S-band and L-band with insight into measurement accuracy

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5 Author(s)
Laymon, C.A. ; Global Hydrol. & Climate Center, Univ. Space Res. Assoc., Huntsville, AL, USA ; Crosson, W.L. ; Jackson, T.J. ; Manu, A.
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A ground-based experiment in passive microwave remote sensing of soil moisture was conducted in Huntsville, AL, from July 1-14, 1996. The goal of the experiment was to evaluate the overall performance of an empirically-based retrieval algorithm at S-band and L-band under a different set of conditions and to characterize the site-specific accuracy inherent within the technique. With high temporal frequency observations at S-band and L-band, the authors were able to observe large scale moisture changes following irrigation and rainfall events, as well as diurnal behavior of surface moisture among three plots, one bare, one covered with short grass and another covered with alfalfa. The L-band emitting depth was determined to be on the order of 0-3 or 0-5 cm below 0.30 cm3/cm3 with an indication that it is less at higher moisture values. The S-band emitting depth was not readily distinguishable from L-band. The uncertainty in remotely sensed soil moisture observations due to surface heterogeneity and temporal variability in variables and parameters was characterized by imposing random errors on the most sensitive variables and parameters and computing the confidence limits on the observations. Discrepancies between remotely sensed and gravimetric soil moisture estimates appear to be larger than those expected from errors in variable and parameter estimation. This would suggest that a vegetation correction procedure based on more dynamic modeling may be required to improve the accuracy of remotely sensed soil moisture

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 9 )