Consequences of Surface Heterogeneity for Parameter Retrieval from 1.4 GHz Multi-Angle SMOS Observations

A.A. vd Griend, J.P. Wigneron, Ph. Waldteufel

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The L-band (1.4 GHz) two-dimensional microwave interferometric radiometer, the payload of the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission, will observe elements of the earth's surface simultaneously at multiple angles. Compared to single-angle observations, this multiangle observation technology is expected to significantly improve the capability of passive microwave remote sensing to retrieve soil moisture and vegetation properties from space. Although multiangle retrieval algorithms have been developed and successfully evaluated for homogeneous surfaces on the basis of simulation studies, the inherently large footprint of microwave observations from space has serious consequences for parameter retrieval from "real-world" inhomogeneous surfaces. At the spatial scale of SMOS (∼30 km for nadir observations), the earth's surface is inhomogeneous almost by default. This aspect has not been fully accounted for yet. This study gives some insight into the consequences of vegetation spatial heterogeneity for the retrieval of "effective" surface parameters (soil moisture, canopy microwave transmissivity, and effective surface temperature) from inhomogeneous surfaces without prior knowledge of the within-pixel canopy heterogeneity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)803-811
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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