Articles | Volume 14, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 141–156, 2010
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 141–156, 2010

  22 Jan 2010

22 Jan 2010

Soil moisture active and passive microwave products: intercomparison and evaluation over a Sahelian site

C. Gruhier1, P. de Rosnay2, S. Hasenauer3, T. Holmes4, R. de Jeu5, Y. Kerr1, E. Mougin1, E. Njoku6, F. Timouk1, W. Wagner3, and M. Zribi1 C. Gruhier et al.
  • 1Centre d'Études Spatiales de la BIOsphère, UMR 5126 (CNRS, CNES, IRD, UPS), Toulouse, France
  • 2European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
  • 3Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
  • 4USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville, USA
  • 5Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 6Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, USA

Abstract. This paper presents a comparison and an evaluation of five soil moisture products based on satellite-based passive and active microwave measurements. Products are evaluated for 2005–2006 against ground measurements obtained from the soil moisture network deployed in Mali (Sahel) in the framework of the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis project. It is shown that the accuracy of the soil moisture products is sensitive to the retrieval approach as well as to the sensor type (active or passive) and to the signal frequency (from 5.6 GHz to 18.8 GHz). The spatial patterns of surface soil moisture are compared between the different products at meso-scale (14.5° N–17.5° N and 2° W–1° W). A general good consistency between the different satellite soil moisture products is shown in terms of meso-scale spatial distribution, in particular after convective rainfall occurrences. Comparison to ground measurement shows that although soil moisture products obtained from satellite generally over-estimate soil moisture values during the dry season, most of them capture soil moisture temporal variations in good agreement with ground station measurements.