Intercomparisons between passive and active microwave remote sensing, and hydrological modeling for soil moisture

Eric F. Wood, D. S. Lin, M. Mancini, D. Thongs, P. A. Troch, T. J. Jackson, J. S. Famiglietti, E. T. Engman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Soil moisture estimates from a distributed hydrological model and two microwave remote sensors (Push Broom Microwave Radiometer and Synthetic Aperture Radar) were compared with the ground measurements collected during the MAC-HYDRO'90 experiment over a 7.4-km2 watershed in central Pennsylvania. Various information, including rainfall, soil properties, land cover, topography and remote sensing imagery, were integrated and analyzed using an image integration technique. It is found that the hydrological model and both microwave sensors successfully pick up the temporal variation of soil moisture. Results also indicate the spatial soil moisture pattern can be remotely sensed within reasonable accuracy using existing algorithms. Watershed averaged soil moisture estimates from the hydrological model are wetter than remotely sensed data. It is difficult to conclude which instrument yield better performance for the studied case. The choice will be based on the intended applications and information that is available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-176
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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