Global soil moisture products retrieved from various remote sensing sensors are becoming readily available with a nearly daily temporal resolution. Active and passive microwave sensors are generally considered as the best technologies for retrieving soil moisture from space. The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth observing system (AMSR-E) on-board the Aqua satellite and the Advanced SCATterometer (ASCAT) on-board the MetOp (Meteorological Operational) satellite are among the sensors most widely used for soil moisture retrieval in the last years. However, due to differences in the spatial resolution, observation depths and measurement uncertainties, validation of satellite data with in situ observations and/or modelled data is not straightforward. In this study, a comprehensive assessment of the reliability of soil moisture estimations from the ASCAT and AMSR-E sensors is carried out by using observed and modelled soil moisture data over 17 sites located in 4 countries across Europe (Italy, Spain, France and Luxembourg). As regards satellite data, products generated by implementing three different algorithms with AMSR-E data are considered: (i) the Land Parameter Retrieval Model, LPRM, (ii) the standard NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) algorithm, and (iii) the Polarization Ratio Index, PRI. For ASCAT the Vienna University of Technology, TUWIEN, change detection algorithm is employed. An exponential filter is applied to approach root-zone soil moisture. Moreover, two different scaling strategies, based respectively on linear regression correction and Cumulative Density Function (CDF) matching, are employed to remove systematic differences between satellite and site-specific soil moisture data. Results are shown in terms of both relative soil moisture values (i.e., between 0 and 1) and anomalies from the climatological expectation. Among the three soil moisture products derived from AMSR-E sensor data, for most sites the highest correlation with observed and modelled data is found using the LPRM algorithm. Considering relative soil moisture values for an ~5 cm soil layer, the TUWIEN ASCAT product outperforms AMSR-E over all sites in France and central Italy while similar results are obtained in all other regions. Specifically, the average correlation coefficient with observed (modelled) data equals to 0.71 (0.74) and 0.62 (0.72) for ASCAT and AMSR-E-LPRM, respectively. Correlation values increase up to 0.81 (0.81) and 0.69 (0.77) for the two satellite products when exponential filtering and CDF matching approaches are applied. On the other hand, considering the anomalies, correlation values decrease but, more significantly, in this case ASCAT outperforms all the other products for all sites except the Spanish ones. Overall, the reliability of all the satellite soil moisture products was found to decrease with increasing vegetation density and to be in good accordance with previous studies. The results provide an overview of the ASCAT and AMSR-E reliability and robustness over different regions in Europe, thereby highlighting advantages and shortcomings for the effective use of these data sets for operational applications such as flood forecasting and numerical weather prediction.

Soil moisture estimation through ASCAT and AMSR-E sensors: An intercomparison and validation study across Europe

BITTELLI, MARCO
2011

Abstract

Global soil moisture products retrieved from various remote sensing sensors are becoming readily available with a nearly daily temporal resolution. Active and passive microwave sensors are generally considered as the best technologies for retrieving soil moisture from space. The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth observing system (AMSR-E) on-board the Aqua satellite and the Advanced SCATterometer (ASCAT) on-board the MetOp (Meteorological Operational) satellite are among the sensors most widely used for soil moisture retrieval in the last years. However, due to differences in the spatial resolution, observation depths and measurement uncertainties, validation of satellite data with in situ observations and/or modelled data is not straightforward. In this study, a comprehensive assessment of the reliability of soil moisture estimations from the ASCAT and AMSR-E sensors is carried out by using observed and modelled soil moisture data over 17 sites located in 4 countries across Europe (Italy, Spain, France and Luxembourg). As regards satellite data, products generated by implementing three different algorithms with AMSR-E data are considered: (i) the Land Parameter Retrieval Model, LPRM, (ii) the standard NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) algorithm, and (iii) the Polarization Ratio Index, PRI. For ASCAT the Vienna University of Technology, TUWIEN, change detection algorithm is employed. An exponential filter is applied to approach root-zone soil moisture. Moreover, two different scaling strategies, based respectively on linear regression correction and Cumulative Density Function (CDF) matching, are employed to remove systematic differences between satellite and site-specific soil moisture data. Results are shown in terms of both relative soil moisture values (i.e., between 0 and 1) and anomalies from the climatological expectation. Among the three soil moisture products derived from AMSR-E sensor data, for most sites the highest correlation with observed and modelled data is found using the LPRM algorithm. Considering relative soil moisture values for an ~5 cm soil layer, the TUWIEN ASCAT product outperforms AMSR-E over all sites in France and central Italy while similar results are obtained in all other regions. Specifically, the average correlation coefficient with observed (modelled) data equals to 0.71 (0.74) and 0.62 (0.72) for ASCAT and AMSR-E-LPRM, respectively. Correlation values increase up to 0.81 (0.81) and 0.69 (0.77) for the two satellite products when exponential filtering and CDF matching approaches are applied. On the other hand, considering the anomalies, correlation values decrease but, more significantly, in this case ASCAT outperforms all the other products for all sites except the Spanish ones. Overall, the reliability of all the satellite soil moisture products was found to decrease with increasing vegetation density and to be in good accordance with previous studies. The results provide an overview of the ASCAT and AMSR-E reliability and robustness over different regions in Europe, thereby highlighting advantages and shortcomings for the effective use of these data sets for operational applications such as flood forecasting and numerical weather prediction.
L. Brocca; S. Hasenauer; T. Lacava; F. Melone; T. Moramarco;W. Wagner ; W. Dorigo; P. Matgen; J. Martínez-Fernández; P. Llorens; J. Latron; C. Martin; M. Bittelli
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/107094
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