A calibration/disaggregation coupling scheme for retrieving soil moisture at high spatio-temporal resolution: Synergy between smap passive microwave, modis/landsat optical/thermal and sentinel-1 radar data

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Output type: Journal article

UM6P affiliated Publication?: Yes

Author list: Ojha N., Merlin O., Amazirh A., Ouaadi N., Jarlan L., Er-Raki S., Escorihuela M.J., Rivalland V.

Publisher: MDPI

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Sensors (1424-8220)

Volume number: 21

Issue number: 21

ISSN: 1424-8220

eISSN: 1424-8220

URL: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?partnerID=HzOxMe3b&scp=85118476130&origin=inward

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Soil moisture (SM) data are required at high spatio-temporal resolution—typically the crop field scale every 3–6 days—for agricultural and hydrological purposes. To provide such high-resolution SM data, many remote sensing methods have been developed from passive microwave, active microwave and thermal data. Despite the pros and cons of each technique in terms of spatiotemporal resolution and their sensitivity to perturbing factors such as vegetation cover, soil roughness and meteorological conditions, there is currently no synergistic approach that takes advantage of all relevant (passive, active microwave and thermal) remote sensing data. In this context, the objective of the paper is to develop a new algorithm that combines SMAP L-band passive microwave, MODIS/Landsat optical/thermal and Sentinel-1 C-band radar data to provide SM data at the field scale at the observation frequency of Sentinel-1. In practice, it is a three-step procedure in which: (1) the 36 km resolution SMAP SM data are disaggregated at 100 m resolution using MODIS/Landsat optical/thermal data on clear sky days, (2) the 100 m resolution disaggregated SM data set is used to calibrate a radar-based SM retrieval model and (3) the so-calibrated radar model is run at field scale on each Sentinel-1 overpass. The calibration approach also uses a vegetation descriptor as ancillary data that is derived either from optical (Sentinel-2) or radar (Sentinel-1) data. Two radar models (an empirical linear regression model and a non-linear semi-empirical formulation derived from the water cloud model) are tested using three vegetation descriptors (NDVI, polarization ratio (PR) and radar coherence (CO)) separately. Both models are applied over three experimental irrigated and rainfed wheat crop sites in central Morocco. The field-scale temporal correlation between predicted and in situ SM is in the range of 0.66–0.81 depending on the retrieval configuration. Based on this data set, the linear radar model using PR as a vegetation descriptor offers a relatively good compromise between precision and robustness all throughout the agricultural season with only three parameters to set. The proposed synergistical approach combining multi-resolution/multi-sensor SM-relevant data offers the advantage of not requiring in situ measurements for calibration.


Disaggregation, DISPATCH, Landsat, Sentinel-1, SMAP, Soil moisture, Synergy


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Last updated on 2022-11-01 at 23:16