Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

headline bar

Soil Moisture Experiments in 2005

Major activities are underway throughout the world to develop operational soil moisture remote sensing, integrate such measurements with conventional methods and models, and to understand the role of this variable in land atmosphere interaction, global circulation, and carbon cycling. Although we know that microwave remote sensing provides a direct measurement of soil moisture there have been many challenges in algorithm science and technology that we have faced on the path to providing global measurements. At the present there are two distinct opportunities that could significantly move the community further along the roadmap to satellite based soil moisture products; operational moderately low frequency instruments such as the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) and Conical Scanning Microwave Imager/Sounder (CMIS) and exploratory L band missions (SMOS and Hydros).

Research is needed to fully exploit the operational satellite instruments, recognizing limitations of these sensors in terms of spatial resolution and vegetation attenuation. Robust algorithms and extensive validation are still needed. Now and for the near future, low frequency passive microwave remote sensing will involve coarse spatial resolutions that are difficult to characterize from theory and are challenging even using conventional techniques. Surface soil moisture exhibits exceptionally high spatial variation at scales ranging from a point (~ 5 cm) through landscape features and climatic regimes. Field experiments, especially those involving both ground and aircraft measurements, provide the linkage between spatial scales necessary for both algorithm development and validation. Soil Moisture in Experiments 2005 (SMEX05) will address algorithm development and validation related to all of the current and scheduled soil moisture satellite systems.

Specific objectives include:
- Exploration of Windsat unique information for soil moisture with supporting aircraft instrumentation.
- Enhancement of Aqua AMSR-E soil moisture validation.

- Field Notes

- ExperimentPlan (6.8 MB)





- SCAN Site at Ames

- NSTL Flux Sites

- Walnut Creek Map

- SMEX05 Regional Map

Last Modified: 12/13/2016
Footer Content Back to Top of Page