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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development and Validation of SMAP Soil Moisture Products

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
NASA is developing the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission for launch in 2013. SMAP will make major contributions to a wide range of science and applications. The success of SMAP will be judged by at least two metrics; the ability to provide products of sufficient accuracy and the benefits that society nets from these products. As part of the mission development and implementation we must strive to develop robust retrieval algorithms that provide the highest possible accuracy. This must be complemented by validation that is based on a diverse set of verified resources. This project focuses on the areas of validation and soil moisture algorithm development. The research and development described here would address many of the issues that are critical to the development and success of SMAP. SMAP and the results of this investigation will lead to improved weather and climate forecasting, flood and drought prediction and assessment, and water resources management. This new information will directly benefit U.S. agriculture and both the national and global society.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A wide range of activities that will contribute to the pre-launch planning for the SMAP mission. These include providing guidance and coordination in establishing the overall project validation plan, contributing to specific objectives related to the soil moisture products, conducting pre-launch algorithm development and validation, establishing and coordinating in situ soil moisture resources, and participating in both the design and execution of field campaigns. In addition to providing SMAP with guidance based upon experience and expertise, the following tasks will be addressed as part of analyses; development of L3 soil moisture algorithms (primarily the single channel algorithm), the exploitation of existing and near future satellites for SMAP algorithm development and validation, global validation with in situ soil moisture data (specifically enhancing existing resources through calibration, scaling, and cooperation, establishing sites that address the unique requirements of SMAP, and pre-launch field experiments to support critical algorithm and science issues.


3.Progress Report:

ARS cooperators are conducting research that supports the development of the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite that will be built by NASA cooperators. This has focused on providing guidance and coordination in establishing the overall project Validation Plan and conducting pre-launch algorithm development and validation, and participating in both the design and execution of field campaigns. During the previous year, major field campaigns were conducted with Canadian and Australian collaborators to provide data needed for developing retrieval algorithms. Progress was made toward evaluating the candidate soil moisture retrieval algorithms using data from another recently launched satellite. The satellite project is progressing on schedule and is expected to be launched in 2014. Large scale operational soil moisture monitoring and mapping will be of widespread value in hydrology, climate and agriculture.


Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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