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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 #344643

Research Project: Integrating Remote Sensing, Measurements and Modeling for Multi-Scale Assessment of Water Availability, Use, and Quality in Agroecosystems

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Title: Spatially enhanced passive microwave derived soil moisture: capabilities and opportunities

item SABAGHTY, S. - Monash University
item WALKER, J. - Monash University
item RENZUILLO, L. - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
item Jackson, Thomas

Submitted to: Remote Sensing of Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2018
Publication Date: 3/1/2018
Citation: Sabaghty, S., Walker, J., Renzuillo, L., Jackson, T.J. 2018. Spatially enhanced passive microwave derived soil moisture: capabilities and opportunities. Remote Sensing of Environment. 209:551-580.

Interpretive Summary: Alternative approaches to downscaling remotely sensed soil moisture were assessed and the underlying principles were examined. The spatial resolution requirements for soil moisture in applications make downscaling an important area of research and development. Results of the investigation suggest that downscaling techniques can deliver substantially greater spatial details about soil moisture variability with reasonable accuracy. This study provided an overview of the resources required for each disaggregation technique and the expected accuracy of the approach. Soil moisture downscaling to higher spatial resolutions is a step forward for the practical use of remotely sensed soil moisture in agriculture and water resources management.

Technical Abstract: Low frequency passive microwave remote sensing is a proven technique for soil moisture retrieval, but its coarse resolution restricts the range of applications. Downscaling, otherwise known as disaggregation, has been proposed as the solution to spatially enhance these coarse resolution soil moisture observations, through association with complementary observations, or ancillary information about land surface features at higher spatial resolution. Such information includes solar reflectance, thermal emission, passive microwave emissions at a higher frequency, radar backscatter, soil or surface attributes such as topography and soil properties, and land surface modelling. Each of these ancillary data sources has its own advantages and disadvantages associated with, for example, their sensitivity to surface soil moisture dynamics and availability. This paper provides an extensive review of the capabilities and opportunities of current approaches for soil moisture downscaling, together with their strengths and limitations.