PALS (Passive Active L-band System) Radiometer-Based Soil Moisture Retrieval for the SMAP Validation Experiment 2012 (SMAPVEX12)
Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 8:30 AM
NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission is scheduled for launch in early January 2015. For pre-launch soil moisture algorithm development and validation, the SMAP project and NASA coordinated a SMAP Validation Experiment 2012 (SMAPVEX12) together with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in the vicinity of Winnipeg, Canada in June 7-July 19, 2012. Coincident active and passive airborne L-band data were acquired using the Passive Active L-band System (PALS) on 17 days during the experiment. Simultaneously with the PALS measurements, soil moisture ground truth data were collected manually. The vegetation and surface roughness were sampled on non-flight days.
The SMAP mission will produce surface (top 5 cm) soil moisture products a) using a combination of its L-band radiometer and SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) measurements, b) using the radiometer measurement only, and c) using the SAR measurements only. The SMAPVEX12 data are being utilized for the development and testing of the algorithms applied for generating these soil moisture products. This talk will focus on presenting results of retrieving surface soil moisture using the PALS radiometer. The issues that this retrieval faces are very similar to those faced by the global algorithm using the SMAP radiometer. However, the different spatial resolution of the two observations has to be accounted for in the analysis. The PALS 3 dB footprint in the experiment was on the order of 1 km, whereas the SMAP radiometer has a footprint of about 40 km.
In this talk forward modeled brightness temperature over the manually sampled fields and the retrieved soil moisture over the entire experiment domain are presented and discussed. In order to provide a retrieval product similar to that of the SMAP passive algorithm, various ancillary information had to be obtained for the SMAPVEX12 domain. In many cases there are multiple options on how to choose and reprocess these data. The derivation of these data elements and their impact on the retrieval and the spatial scales of the different observations are also discussed. In particular, land cover and soil type heterogeneity have a dramatic impact on parameterization of the algorithm when going from finer to coarser spatial resolutions.