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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Jackson, Thomas

Submitted to: Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/2/2002
Publication Date: 7/28/2002
Citation: Jackson, T. 2002. Soil Moisture Mapping Using Satellite Microwave Remote Sensing: Current and Future Data for Hydrologic Modeling. Proceedings Second Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference, July 28-August 1, 2002, Las Vegas, NV, CD Publication Section 10D.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil moisture has been difficult to measure and map using conventional ground based point sampling. Soil moisture retrieval using microwave remote sensing has been demonstrated using tower and aircraft instruments. The translation of this approach to satellites and the implementation in hydrologic applications has been limited by both the technology and the satellite systems that were available. With a few exceptions, previous microwave satellite systems were designed for other applications and were severely limited for soil moisture retrieval. Recent developments in both science and associated antenna technologies now make the exploitation of the microwave region for soil moisture mapping feasible. There are six new satellite missions scheduled for the next five years. Three of these are passive microwave; Aqua Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) U.S. 2002, ADEOS-II AMSR Japan 2002, and the Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) European Space Agency 2006. All of these missions will produce global soil moisture map products with a repeat frequency of approximately three days. Active microwave sensors (radar) provide higher resolution data but with less frequent coverage. New radar satellites include Envisat ASAR European Space Agency 2002, ALOS Palsar Japan 2003, and Radarsat-2 Canada 2003. 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. Microwave remote sensing it will provide new and unique information on a critical hydrologic state variable, soil moisture. The availability of soil moisture observations will lead to better forecasts which in turn benefit the full range of water resources applications.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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