An operational global soil moisture data product is currently generated from the observations of the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) aboard NASA's Aqua satellite using the retrieval procedure described in Njoku and Chan [Njoku, E.G. and Chan, S.K., 2006. Vegetation and surface roughness effects on AMSR-E land observations, remote sensing environment, 100(2), 190-199]. We have generated another soil moisture dataset from the same AMSR-E observed brightness temperature data using the Land Surface Microwave Emission Model (LSMEM) adopting a different estimation method. This paper focuses on a comparison study of soil moisture estimates from the above two methods. The soil moisture data from current AMSR-E product and LSMEM are compared with the in-situ measured soil moisture datasets over the Little River Experimental Watershed (LREW), Georgia, USA for the year 2003. The comparison study was carried out separately for the AMSR-E daytime and night time overpasses. The LSMEM method performed better than the current operational AMSR-E retrieval algorithm in this study. The differences between the AMSR-E and LSMEM results are mostly due to differences in various simplifications and assumptions made for variables in the radiative transfer equations and the soil and vegetation based physical models and the accuracy of the input surface temperature datasets for the LSMEM forward model approach. This study confirms that remote sensing data have the potential to provide useful hydrologic information, but the accuracy of the geophysical parameters could vary depending on the estimation methods. It cannot be concluded from this study whether the soil moisture estimation by the LSMEM approach will perform better in other geographic, climatic or topographic conditions. Nevertheless, this study sheds light on the effects of different approaches for the estimation of geophysical parameters, which may be useful for current and future satellite missions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Soil Science
- Computers in Earth Sciences
- In-situ observations
- Little River Experimental Watershed
- Radiative transfer model
- Soil moisture