Global-scale comparison of passive (SMOS) and active (ASCAT) satellite based microwave soil moisture retrievals with soil moisture simulations (MERRA-Land) - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Remote Sensing of Environment Year : 2014

Global-scale comparison of passive (SMOS) and active (ASCAT) satellite based microwave soil moisture retrievals with soil moisture simulations (MERRA-Land)

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Yann H. Kerr
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Rolf Reichle

Abstract

Global surface soil moisture (SSM) datasets are being produced based on active and passive microwave satellite observations and simulations from land surface models (LSM). This study investigates the consistency of two global satellite-based SSM datasets based on microwave remote sensing observations from the passive Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS; SMOSL3 version 2.5) and the active Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT; version TU-Wien-WARP 5.5) with respect to LSM SSM from the MERRA-Land data product. The relationship between the global-scale SSM products was studied during the 2010-2012 period using (1) a time series statistics (considering both original SSM data and anomalies), (2) a space-time analysis using Hovmöller diagrams, and (3) a triple collocation error model. The SMOSL3 and ASCAT retrievals are consistent with the temporal dynamics of modeled SSM (correlation R > 0.70 for original SSM) in the transition zones between wet and dry climates, including the Sahel, the Indian subcontinent, the Great Plains of North America, eastern Australia, and south-eastern Brazil. Over relatively dense vegetation covers, a better consistency with MERRA-Land was obtained with ASCAT than with SMOSL3. However, it was found that ASCAT retrievals exhibit negative correlation versus MERRA-Land in some arid regions (e.g., the Sahara and the Arabian Peninsula). In terms of anomalies, SMOSL3 better captures the short term SSM variability of the reference dataset (MERRA-Land) than ASCAT over regions with limited radio frequency interference (RFI) effects (e.g., North America, South America, and Australia). The seasonal and latitudinal variations of SSM are relatively similar for the three products, although the MERRA-Land SSM values are generally higher and their seasonal amplitude is much lower than for SMOSL3 and ASCAT. Both SMOSL3 and ASCAT have relatively comparable triple collocation errors with similar spatial error patterns: (i) lowest errors in arid regions (e.g., Sahara and Arabian Peninsula), due to the very low natural variability of soil moisture in these areas, and Central America, and (ii) highest errors over most of the vegetated regions (e.g., northern Australia, India, central Asia, and South America). However, the ASCAT SSM product is prone to larger random errors in some regions (e.g., north-western Africa, Iran, and southern South Africa). Vegetation density was found to be a key factor to interpret the consistency with MERRA-Land between the two remotely sensed products (SMOSL3 and ASCAT) which provides complementary information on SSM. This study shows that both SMOS and ASCAT have thus a potential for data fusion into long-term data records.
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Dates and versions

hal-01062452 , version 1 (12-09-2014)

Identifiers

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Amen Al-Yaari, Jean-Pierre Wigneron, Agnès Ducharne, Yann H. Kerr, Wolfgang Wagner, et al.. Global-scale comparison of passive (SMOS) and active (ASCAT) satellite based microwave soil moisture retrievals with soil moisture simulations (MERRA-Land). Remote Sensing of Environment, 2014, 152, pp.614-626. ⟨10.1016/j.rse.2014.07.013⟩. ⟨hal-01062452⟩
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