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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334921

Research Project: Leveraging Remote Sensing, Land Surface Modeling and Ground-based Observations ... Variables within Heterogeneous Agricultural Landscapes

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Title: Modelling the passive microwave signature from land surfaces: a review of recent results and application to the SMOS & SMAP soil moisture retrieval algorithms

item WIGNERON, J. - National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF)
item Jackson, Thomas
item O'NEILL, PEGGY - Goddard Space Flight Center
item DE JEU, R.A.M - Bennekom, The Netherlands
item DE ROSNAY, P. - European Centre For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)
item WALKER, J. - Monash University
item FERRAZOLI, P. - University Of Rome
item MIRNOV, V. - Collaborator
item BIRCHER, S. - Center For The Study Of The Biosphère From Space(CESBIO)
item GRANT, J. - Lund University
item KURUM, M. - Goddard Space Flight Center
item SCHWANK, M - Swiss Federal Research Institute Wsl
item LEVINE, D - Goddard Space Flight Center
item DAS, N. - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
item ROYER, A. - Universite De Sherbrooke
item AL-YARRI, A. - National Institute For Agricultural Research (INIAP)
item BITAR, A. - University Of Toulouse
item FERNANDEZ-MORAN, R. - National Institute For Agricultural Research (INIAP)
item LAWRENCE, H. - European Centre For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)
item MIALON, A. - University Of Toulouse

Submitted to: Remote Sensing of Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2017
Publication Date: 4/1/2017
Publication URL:
Citation: Wigneron, J., Jackson, T.J., O'Neill, P., De Jeu, R., De Rosnay, P., Walker, J., Ferrazoli, P., Mirnov, V., Bircher, S., Grant, J., Kurum, M., Schwank, M., Levine, D., Das, N., Royer, A., Al-Yarri, A., Bitar, A., Fernandez-Moran, R., Lawrence, H., Mialon, A. 2017. Modelling the passive microwave signature from land surfaces: a review of recent results and application to the SMOS & SMAP soil moisture retrieval algorithms. Remote Sensing of Environment. 192:238-262.

Interpretive Summary: The most significant advances in modelling the passive microwave emission from land surfaces over the past decade were identified and critical needs for improvement were identified. These advances have been due primarily to the intensive research conducted to support the two dedicated soil moisture remote sensing satellites; the Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity and Soil Moisture Active Passive missions launched in 2009 and 2015 respectively. This research has moved several components from semi-empirical to physically based approaches; specifically soil roughness, vegetation scattering, and linking vegetation indices and vegetation optical thickness. These results obtained provide very useful insights for further development and improvement of soil moisture retrieval algorithms that will lead to more reliable and robust products for agricultural hydrology.

Technical Abstract: Two passive microwave missions are currently operating at L-band to monitor surface soil moisture (SM) over continental surfaces. The SMOS sensor, based on an innovative interferometric technology enabling multi-angular signatures of surfaces to be measured, was launched in November 2009. Recently, the SMAP sensor, based on a large mesh reflector 6 meters in diameter providing a conically scanning antenna beam with a surface incidence angle of 40°, was launched in January of 2015. Over the last decade, an intense scientific activity has focused on the development of the SM retrieval algorithms for the two missions. This activity has relied on many field (mainly tower-based) and airborne experimental campaigns, and since 2010-2011, on the SMOS and Aquarius space-borne L-band observations. It has relied too on the use of numerical, physical and semi-empirical models to simulate the microwave brightness temperature of natural scenes for a variety of scenarios in terms of system configurations (polarization, incidence angle) and soil, vegetation and climate conditions. Key components of the inversion models have been evaluated and new parameterizations of the effects of the surface temperature, soil roughness, soil permittivity, and vegetation extinction and scattering have been developed. Among others, global maps of select radiative transfer parameters have been estimated very recently. Based on this intense activity, improvements of the SMOS and SMAP SM inversion algorithms have been proposed. Some of them have already been implemented while others are currently being investigated. In this paper, we present a review of the significant progress which has been made over the last decade in this field of research with a focus on L-band, and a discussion on possible applications to the SMOS and SMAP soil moisture retrieval approaches.