Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #426500

Research Project: Validation of SMAP Soil Moisture Products with In Situ and Satellite Observations

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-13610-029-73-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Mar 20, 2014
End Date: May 31, 2018

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite will be launched in October 2014 and will provide routine observations of global soil moisture with a spatial resolution and temporal frequency that will enable new and improved current agricultural and climate applications. Validating the accuracy of these products is critical to their acceptance as well providing the basis for improvements. This investigation will utilize several methodologies to assess global soil moisture products, in situ observations made at ARS watersheds, alternative satellite products, and field experiments with aircraft-based simulators of the satellite.

The primary contribution of the ARS participation in the SMAP Science Team involves the calibration and validation of the soil moisture products. In addition, ARS expects to contribute to satellite radiometer validation, the physical theory associated with the soil moisture retrieval algorithms, and support for the overall SMAP Calibration/Validation Plan. In order to accomplish this ARS will provide guidance and coordination in implementation of the project Cal/Val Plan, contribute to the assessment of the accuracy of the soil moisture products, and suggest improvements based on the results of the analyses. Analyses will include the use of in situ observations, alternative satellite products, and field experiments. Specific activities involving in situ soil moisture resources includes providing well-characterized observations from existing USDA ARS watersheds. Data from existing satellites with similar sensors and/or products will be used to extend the limited in situ data analyses to global assessments. In addition, a limited number of intensive field campaigns will be required to evaluate up-scaling and sensor calibration. ARS will contribute to the design, execution, and analyses of these experiments. These tasks will be accomplished through close interactions with the satellite algorithm and Cal/Val teams.