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Soil Moisture Estimation Using Two-component Decomposition and a Hybrid X-Bragg/Fresnel Scattering Model

Shi, Hongtao, Yang, Jie, Li, Pingxiang, Zhao, Lingli, Liu, Zhiqu, Zhao, Jinqi, Liu, Wensong
Journal of hydrology 2019
dielectric properties, models, polarimetry, satellites, soil water, surface roughness, synthetic aperture radar, topographic slope, vegetation cover, China, Oklahoma
Polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR), as an advanced active sensor, can penetrate vegetation to detect ground information. The multimode observation data can provide more information to interpret different scattering mechanisms and have great application potential in soil moisture estimation (SME). In this paper, a modified method of soil moisture inversion from PolSAR data based on a two-component polarimetric decomposition model is introduced. The proposed method neglects the dihedral scattering component in the case of sparse vegetation cover and no-building areas, compensates the orientation angle by considering the influence of surface roughness and terrain slope, and calculates the dielectric constant with the hybrid X-Bragg/Fresnel model. Gaofen-3 (C-band) data from Ordos, Inner Mongolia, and Soil Moisture Experiment 2003 (SMEX03) airborne synthetic aperture radar (AIRSAR) (C- and L-band) data from Southern Oklahoma were applied in the experimental research. Furthermore, the performance and validity limits were assessed by comparing the retrieval results with in situ measurements and Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) soil moisture products. The results reveal a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 8.66% with an inversion rate of up to 61% when using the Gaofen-3 data from Ordos. For the Southern Oklahoma study area, the inversion RMSE of the AIRSAR C- and L-band data is 8.57% and 8.95%, respectively. The tendency of the inversion results is also consistent with the change trend of the site observations. In the bare soil and sparse vegetation covered areas, the retrieval error is relatively small, while in dense vegetation covered areas, soil moisture is underestimated in both the C- and L-band data, and the former is more underestimated than the latter.