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Effects of sub-pixel heterogeneity on the retrieval of soil moisture from passive microwave radiometry

Burke, E. J. and Simmonds, L. P. (2003) Effects of sub-pixel heterogeneity on the retrieval of soil moisture from passive microwave radiometry. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 24 (10). pp. 2085-2104. ISSN 0143-1161

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/01431160210155938

Abstract/Summary

A simple formulation relating the L-band microwave brightness temperature detected by a passive microwave radiometer to the near surface soil moisture was developed using MICRO-SWEAT, a coupled microwave emission model and soil-vegetation-atmosphere-transfer (SVAT) scheme. This simple model provides an ideal tool with which to explore the impact of sub-pixel heterogeneity on the retrieval of soil moisture from microwave brightness temperatures. In the case of a bare soil pixel, the relationship between apparent emissivity and surface soil moisture is approximately linear, with the clay content of the soil influencing just the intercept of this relationship. It is shown that there are no errors in the retrieved soil moisture from a bare soil pixel that is heterogeneous in soil moisture and texture. However, in the case of a vegetated pixel, the slope of the relationship between apparent emissivity and surface soil moisture decreases with increasing vegetation. Therefore for a pixel that is heterogeneous in vegetation and soil moisture, errors can be introduced into the retrieved soil moisture. Generally, under moderate conditions, the retrieved soil moisture is within 3% of the actual soil moisture. Examples illustrating this discussion use data collected during the Southern Great Plains '97 Experiment (SGP97).

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3334
Uncontrolled Keywords:SURFACE WATER-CONTENT BARE SOILS EMISSION MODEL RADIOBRIGHTNESS ENERGY GHZ
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