Articles | Volume 13, issue 10
15 Oct 2009
 | 15 Oct 2009

Soil moisture mapping over West Africa with a 30-min temporal resolution using AMSR-E observations and a satellite-based rainfall product

T. Pellarin, T. Tran, J.-M. Cohard, S. Galle, J.-P. Laurent, P. de Rosnay, and T. Vischel

Abstract. An original and simple method to map surface soil moisture over large areas has been developed to obtain data with a high temporal and spatial resolution for the study of possible feedback mechanisms between soil moisture and convection in West Africa. A rainfall estimation product based on Meteosat geostationary satellite measurements is first used together with a simple Antecedent Precipitation Index (API) model to produce soil moisture maps at a spatial resolution of 10×10 km2 and a temporal resolution of 30-min. However, given the uncertainty of the satellite-based rainfall estimation product, the resulting soil moisture maps are not sufficiently accurate. For this reason, a technique based on assimilating AMSR-E C-band measurements into a microwave emission model was developed in which the estimated rainfall rates between two successive AMSR-E brightness temperature (TB) measurements are adjusted by multiplying them by a factor between 0 and 7 that minimizes the difference between simulated and observed TBs. Ground-based soil moisture measurements obtained at three sites in Niger, Mali and Benin were used to assess the method which was found to improve the soil moisture estimates on all three sites.