A Semi-Empirical Inversion Model for Assessing Surface Soil Moisture using AMSR-E Brightness Temperatures

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  • In 2004-2005, 2007 and 2009, three major drought disasters occurred in Guangdong Province of southern China, which caused serious economic losses. Hence, it has recently become an important research subject in China to monitor surface soil moisture (SSM) and the drought disaster quickly and accurately. SSM is an effective indicator for characterizing the degree of drought. First, using the brightness temperatures (T[subscript b]) of the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer on the EOS Aqua Satellite (AMSR-E), a modified surface roughness index was developed to map the land surface roughness. Then by combining microwave polarization difference indices (MPDI)-based vegetation cover classification and the modified surface roughness index, a simple semi-empirical model of SSM was derived from the passive microwave radiative transfer equation using AMSR-E C-band T[subscript b] and observed surface soil temperature (T[subscript s]). The model was inverted to calculate SSM. The results show the ability to discriminate over a broad range of SSM (7%~73%) with an accuracy of 2.11% in bare ground and flat areas (R² =0.87), 2.89% in sparse vegetation and flat surface areas (R²=0.85), about 6%~9% in dense vegetation areas and rough surface areas (0.80≤R²≤0.83). The simulation results were also validated using in-situ SSM data (R²=0.87, RMSE=6.36%). Time series mapping of SSM from AMSR-E imageries further demonstrated that the presented method was effective to detect the initiation, duration and recovery of the drought events.
  • This is the author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by Elsevier and can be found at:
  • Keywords: Drought disaster, Brightness temperature (T[subscript b]), South China, Semi-Empirical model, Surface soil moisture (SSM), AMSR-E, Passive microwave remote sensing
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  • Chen, X., Chen, S., Zhong, R., Su, Y., Liao, J., Li, D., . . . Li, X. (2012). A semi-empirical inversion model for assessing surface soil moisture using AMSR-E brightness temperatures. Journal of Hydrology, 456, 1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.05.022
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  • 456-457
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  • This study was supported jointly by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (Grant No. 2011CB707103), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NO.40701127), Science and Technology Plan Fund of Guangdong Province, China (2010B020315016, 2010B020315029 & 2007B020500002-7).



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