Estimation of Root zone Soil Moisture Profile by Reduced-Order Variational Data Assimilation using Surface Soil Moisture Observation

Parisa Heidary, Leila Farhadi, Muhammad Altaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Abstract Soil moisture plays an important role in the global water cycle and has an important impact on energy fluxes at the land surface. It also defines the initial and boundary condition of terrestrial hydrological processes, including infiltration, runoff, and evapotranspiration. Therefore, accurate estimation of soil moisture pattern is of critical importance. Satellite-based soil moisture can be obtained with well-defined temporal and spatial resolutions and with global coverage. However, they only provide surface soil moisture at the upper few centimeters of the soil column. Soil moisture simulation models can produce estimates of soil moisture profile up to several meters of depth in different time steps. However, uncertainty in model parameters (e.g., unknown initial soil moisture profile) and meteorological forcing can substantially alter the accuracy of the model estimates. In this study, the potential of using surface soil moisture measurements to retrieve the initial soil moisture profile will be explored in a synthetic study, using two proposed reduced-order variational data assimilation (VDA) techniques and a simple 1D-soil moisture model. The accuracy and feasibility of the proposed approaches are confirmed by comparing the initial soil moisture profiles estimated using the proposed reduced-order VDA techniques versus the full-adjoint VDA technique. Results illustrated that the reduced-order VDA techniques can estimate initial soil moisture profile from surface soil moisture observation with the comparable level of accuracy as full-adjoint VDA. The effectiveness of the reduced-order VDA in retrieving the initial soil moisture profile is further demonstrated by assimilating surface soil moisture into HYDRUS-1D, mimicking real-world errors.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-02-09
Acknowledgements: Funding for this research is provided by the NSF CAREER Award #1944457 (PI: L. Farhadi, GWU) and the USGS Award #2020DC119B (PI: L. Farhadi, GWU).


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