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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #440841

Research Project: Root-Zone Soil Moisture Using P-band Observations

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-13610-030-024-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2021
End Date: Jan 31, 2024

Remote sensing is capable of estimating surface soil moisture for landscapes with low vegetation coverage, but it is necessary to try and expand this capability to more highly vegetated landscapes, including regions with a mixture of cropland and woodlands. Therefore, this study will help to establish a baseline in situ soil moisture and vegetation dataset for comparison to microwave remote sensing products for more highly vegetated landscapes.

In addition to supporting a wide range of SMAP validation activities, the project also will be expanded to cover a variety of conditions, including the evolution of vegetation from the summer through the senescent fall period. It is critical that the SMAP validation be conducted on a high-quality data set, including field sampling with well calibrated equipment, using the latest statistical evaluation. With the creation of the enhanced passive products this requires a rescaling of the network. In the case of the combined Sentinel-SMAP soil moisture this will require replicate sampling or scaling at a higher resolution than originally planned. These improvements will be supported on a global scale and specific enhancements will be made by the team. The planning for a field campaign (SMAPVEX19/20) to support algorithm development and validation in high and mixed vegetation domains will be conducted throughout 2019 and 2022. Expansion of the study deeper into the vadose zone will also aid in the calibration of the L4 soil moisture products. Extension of the study into the fall season is a new aspect of the field campaign design for SMAPVEX, requiring additional travel and equipment deployment.