The impact of land surface temperature on soil moisture anomaly detection from passive microwave observations

R.M. Parinussa, T.R.H. Holmes, M.T. Yilmax, W.T. Crow

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    For several years passive microwave observations have been used to retrieve soil moisture from the Earth's surface. Low frequency observations have the most sensitivity to soil moisture, therefore the current Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and future Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) satellite missions observe the Earth's surface in the L-band frequency. In the past, several satellite sensors such as the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR-E) and WindSat have been used to retrieve surface soil moisture using multi-channel observations obtained at higher microwave frequencies. While AMSR-E and WindSat lack an L-band channel, they are able to leverage multi-channel microwave observations to estimate additional land surface parameters. In particular, the availability of Ka-band observations allows AMSR-E and WindSat to obtain coincident surface temperature estimates required for the retrieval of surface soil moisture. In contrast, SMOS and SMAP carry only a single frequency radiometer and therefore lack an instrument suited to estimate the physical temperature of the Earth. Instead, soil moisture algorithms from these new generation satellites rely on ancillary sources of surface temperature (e.g. re-analysis or near real time data from weather prediction centres). A consequence of relying on such ancillary data is the need for temporal and spatial interpolation, which may introduce uncertainties. Here, two newly-developed, large-scale soil moisture evaluation techniques, the triple collocation (TC) approach and the R
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3135-3151
    JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
    Issue number15
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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