Evaluation of AMSR-E-derived soil moisture retrievals using ground-based and PSR airborne data during SMEX02

Matthew F. McCabe*, H. Gao, E. F. Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


A Land Surface Microwave Emission Model (LSMEM) is used to derive soil moisture estimates over Iowa during the Soil Moisture Experiment 2002 (SMEX02) field campaign, using brightness temperature data from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Radiometer (AMSR)-E satellite. Spatial distributions of the near-surface soil moisture are produced using the LSMEM, with data from the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS), vegetation and land surface parameters estimated through recent Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface products, and standard soil datasets. To assess the value of soil moisture estimates from the 10.7-GHz X-band sensor on the AMSR-E instrument, retrievals are evaluated against ground-based sampling and soil moisture estimates from the airborne Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer (PSR) operating at C band. The PSR offers high-resolution detail of the soil moisture distribution, which can be used to analyze heterogeneity within the scale of the AMSR-E pixel. Preliminary analysis indicates that retrievals from the AMSR-E instrument at 10.7 GHz using the LSMEM are surprisingly robust, with accuracies within 3% vol/vol compared with in situ samples. Results from these AMSR-E comparisons also indicate potential in determining soil moisture patterns over regional scales, even in the presence of vegetation. Assessment of soil moisture determined through local-scale sampling within the larger-scale AMSR-E footprint reveals a consistent level of agreement over a range of meteorological and surface conditions, offering promise for improved land surface hydrometeorological characterization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-877
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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