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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Airborne Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface (Airmoss)

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

2011 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The overarching goal of the Airborne Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface (AirMOSS) project is to significantly reduce the current uncertainty in net ecosystem exchange (NEE) estimates of water and carbon over North America. AirMOSS will meet this challenge by providing high-resolution regional observations of Root Zone Soil Moisture (RZSM) over the major North American biomes. RZSM is defined here as the total moisture in the soil column from surface to the root zone. To measure RZSM, AirMOSS will build (from print) an ultra-high frequency (UHF) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that has the capability to penetrate through substantial vegetation canopies and subsurface and retrieve information to the depths as large as 1.2m depending on the soil moisture content.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The proposal will build the AirMOSS sensor and deploy it during a serious of field experiments within the United States. Data sets derived from these experiments will then be assimilated into existing land surface models to improve our ability to track root-zone soil moisture and the net exchange of water carbon between agricultural landscapes and the atmosphere.

3.Progress Report

Began implementation of a distributed hydrologic model at Airborne Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface (AirMOSS) field campaign sites and the development of a model calibration system designed to calibrate model predictions against AirMOSS root-zone soil moisture retrievals. Contributed to a successful review of the AirMOSS mission concept by NASA.

Last Modified: 12/1/2015
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