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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Remote Sensing, Soil Moisture and Implications for Groundwater Recharge

Author
item Jackson, Thomas

Submitted to: Hydrogeology Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 30, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The basic principles of microwave remote sensing of surface and profile soil moisture were applied to the problem of providing information for groundwater recharge analysis. A review was made of techniques that have been developed and demonstrated for the estimation of profile soil moisture from surface observations (with and without models), the measurement of the edepth to shallow water tables, and inferring hydraulic characteristics of the soil profile from surface observations. Remote sensing has been a valuable tool in groundwater studies for many years, primarily as an exploration technique. Recent developments in microwave remote sensing, theory and sensor availability have resulted in new capabilities and potential. In particular, it is now possible to estimate surface soil moisture and infer subsurface parameters and features using these techniques. This quantitative information can be used to assess and estimate groundwater recharge. In addition, the data are available on a multitemporal and spatial basis, which can complement monitoring and modeling. Quantitative information on groundwater recharge rates is important in planning and managing the use and maintaining the quality of this resource.

Technical Abstract: Remote sensing provides information on the land surface. Therefore, linkages must be established if these data are to be used in groundwater and recharge analyses. Keys to this are the use of remote sensing techniques that provide information on soil moisture and water balance models that tie these observations to the recharge. Microwave remote sensing techniques can be used to map the spatial domain of surface soil moisture and to monitor its temporal dynamics, information that cannot be measured using other techniques. The physical basis of this approach is presented with examples of how microwave remote sensing can be utilized in groundwater recharge and related studies.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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