An intercomparison of remotely sensed soil moisture products at various spatial scales over the Iberian Peninsula

Parinussa, R.M.
Yılmaz, Mustafa Tuğrul
Anderson, M.C.
Hain, C.R.
de Jeu, R.A.M.
Soil moisture (SM) can be retrieved from active microwave (AM), passive microwave (PM) and thermal infrared (TIR) observations, each having unique spatial and temporal coverages. A limitation of TIR-based retrievals is a dependence on cloud-free conditions, whereas microwave retrievals are almost all weather proof. A downside of SM retrievals from PM is the coarse spatial resolution. Although SM retrievals at coarse spatial resolution proved to be valuable for global-scale and continental-scale studies, their value for regional-scale studies remains limited. To increase the use of SM retrievals from PM observations, an existing method to enhance their spatial resolution was applied. We present an intercomparison study over the Iberian Peninsula for three SM products on two different spatial sampling grids. The remotely sensed SM products were also compared with in situ observations from the Remedhus network. Variations between ground data and satellite-based SM are observed; all three remotely sensed SM products show good agreement to the ground observations. The comparison shows that these ground observations and satellite data are consistent, based on the correlation coefficient (R) and root mean square error (RMSE). The remotely sensed products were intercompared after sampling at 25 x 25 km(2) and after applying the smoothing filter-based intensity modulation (SFIM) downscaling technique at 10 x 10 km(2) grids. After the application of the SFIM technique, the SM retrievals from PM observations show better agreement with the other remotely sensed SM products for approximately 40% of the study area. For another 40% of the study area, we found a similar agreement between these product combinations, whereas in extreme environments, both arid and densely vegetated regions, the agreement decreases after the application of the SFIM technique. Agreement between retrievals of absolute SM content from PM and TIR observations is generally high (R = 0.77 for semi-arid areas). This study enhances our understanding of the remotely sensed SM products for improvements of SM retrieval and merging strategies. Copyright (C) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Citation Formats
R. M. Parinussa, M. T. Yılmaz, M. C. Anderson, C. R. Hain, and R. A. M. de Jeu, “An intercomparison of remotely sensed soil moisture products at various spatial scales over the Iberian Peninsula,” Hydrological Processes, vol. 28, no. 18, pp. 4865–4876, 2014, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: