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Estimating Effective Roughness Parameters of the L-MEB Model for Soil Moisture Retrieval Using Passive Microwave Observations From SMAPVEX12

Martens, Brecht, Lievens, Hans, Colliander, Andreas, Jackson, Thomas J., Verhoest, Niko E. C.
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 2015 v.53 no.7 pp. 4091-4103
algorithms, biosphere, leaf area index, model validation, models, remote sensing, roughness, soil water, surface roughness, temperature, vegetation, Canada
Despite the continuing efforts to improve existing soil moisture retrieval algorithms, the ability to estimate soil moisture from passive microwave observations is still hampered by problems in accurately modeling the observed microwave signal. This paper focuses on the estimation of effective surface roughness parameters of the L-band Microwave Emission from the Biosphere (L-MEB) model in order to improve soil moisture retrievals from passive microwave observations. Data from the SMAP Validation Experiment 2012 conducted in Canada are used to develop and validate a simple model for the estimation of effective roughness parameters. Results show that the L-MEB roughness parameters can be empirically related to the observed brightness temperatures and the leaf area index of the vegetation. These results indicate that the roughness parameters are compensating for both roughness and vegetation effects. It is also shown, using a leave-one-out cross validation, that the model is able to accurately estimate the roughness parameters necessary for the inversion of the L-MEB model. In order to demonstrate the usefulness of the roughness parameterization, the performance of the model is compared to more traditional roughness formulations. Results indicate that the soil moisture retrieval error can be reduced to 0.054 m3 /m3 if the roughness formulation proposed in this study is implemented in the soil moisture retrieval algorithm.