SMAP RADAR Calibration and Validation

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Richard D West, Sermsak Jaruwatanadilok and Julian Chaubel, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission is planned to launch on Jan 8, 2015. The mission employs L-band radar and radiometer measurements to estimate soil moisture with 4% volumetric accuracy at a resolution of 10 km, and freeze-thaw state at a resolution of 1-3 km. Immediately following launch, there will be a 3 month instrument checkout period, followed by 6 months of level 1 (L1) calibration and validation. In this presentation, we will discuss the plans and preparations for the calibration and validation of L1 radar data from SMAP.

At the start of the L1 cal/val period, we will validate the operation of the instrument and of the ground processing using tools that look at readily identifiable surface features such as coast lines and corner reflectors. Geometric biases will be fit and removed. Radiometric cross-calibration with PALSAR and Aquarius will also be performed using target regions in the Amazon rain forest selected for their stability and uniformity. As the L1 cal/val period progresses, the performance of the automated short and long term calibration modules in ground processing will be tracked and verified using data from stable reference targets such as the wind corrected ocean and selected areas of rain forest that have shown good temporal stability.

The performance of the radio frequency interference (RFI) removal algorithm will be validated by processing data with the algorithm turned on and off, and using different parameter settings. Additional information on the extent of RFI will be obtained from a special RFI survey conducted early in the L1 cal/val period. Radar transmissions are turned off during the RFI survey, and receive only data are collected over a variety of operating frequencies. The model based Faraday rotation corrections will also be checked during the L1 cal/val by comparing the model Faraday rotation with the measured Faraday rotation obtained by the SMAP Radiometer.

This work is supported by the SMAP project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.