Submitted to: Water Resources Impact
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Satellite remote sensing has contributed to water resources applications and research for three decades. Most of this work has utilized sensors operating in the visible and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Recent developments in both science and associated antenna technologies now make the exploitation of the microwave region feasible. One of the primary applications of microwave remote sensing is the measurement of soil moisture. Soil moisture has been difficult to measure and map using conventional ground based point sampling. Daily soil moisture maps could contribute to a range of water resources applications such as establishing antecedent conditions for runoff prediction, irrigation management, and climate analysis. This type of information will provide new opportunities for better water resources management and basic research on the global water cycle and climate. Although coarse resolution data is not compatible with all water resources applications, it can have an immediate and significant impact on weather and climate forecasts. The availability of soil moisture observations will lead to better forecasts which in turn benefit the full range of water resources applications.