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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 #337772

Title: Soil moisture remote sensing: State of the science

item MOHANTY, B - Texas A&M University
item Cosh, Michael
item LAKSHMI, V. - Collaborator
item MONTZKKA, C. - Juelich Research Center

Submitted to: Vadose Zone Journal
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2017
Publication Date: 3/15/2017
Citation: Mohanty, B., Cosh, M.H., Lakshmi, V., Montzkka, C. 2017. Soil moisture remote sensing: State of the science. Vadose Zone Journal. doi:10.2136/vzj2016.10.0105.

Interpretive Summary: Soil moisture remote sensing has been revolutionized by recent satellite missions, including the European Space Agency's Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity mission and the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive mission. Each has a demonstrated accuracy to within 0.04 m3/m3, which has led to the development of many new applications for remote sensing soil moisture products. A review of these recent advances is provided and an overview of the current state of the science is provided. Future directions are discussed for the application of these products to hydrologic science in the coming decade. This work is useful to the applications community which can integrate the appropriate data sources for implementaiton into their decision support systems.

Technical Abstract: Satellites (e.g., SMAP, SMOS) using passive microwave techniques, in particular at L band frequency, have shown good promise for global mapping of near-surface (0-5 cm) soil moisture at a spatial resolution of 25-40 km and temporal resolution of 2-3 days. C- and X-band soil moisture records date back to 1978 making available an invaluable data set for long-term climate research. Near-surface soil moisture is further extended to root zone (top meter) using process based models and data assimilation schemes. Validation of remotely sensed soil moisture products has been ongoing using core monitoring sites, sparse monitoring networks, intensive field campaigns, as well as multi-satellite comparison studies. To transfer empirical observations across space and time scales and to develop improved retrieval algorithms at various resolutions, several efforts are underway to associate soil moisture variability dynamics with land surface attributes in various energy and water rich environments. In this paper we describe the most recent scientific and technological advances in soil moisture remote sensing. We anticipate remotely sensed soil moisture will find many applications in vadose zone hydrology in the coming decades.