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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 15, issue 7
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 2303–2316, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-15-2303-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Earth observation and water cycle science

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 2303–2316, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-15-2303-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Jul 2011

Research article | 18 Jul 2011

The Tibetan Plateau observatory of plateau scale soil moisture and soil temperature (Tibet-Obs) for quantifying uncertainties in coarse resolution satellite and model products

Z. Su1, J. Wen2, L. Dente1, R. van der Velde1, L. Wang1, Y. Ma3, K. Yang3, and Z. Hu2 Z. Su et al.
  • 1Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
  • 2Key Laboratory of Land Surface Process and Climate Change in Cold and Arid Regions, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAREERI/CAS), Lanzhou, China
  • 3TEL, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ITP/CAS), Beijing, China

Abstract. A plateau scale soil moisture and soil temperature observatory is established on the Tibetan Plateau for quantifying uncertainties in coarse resolution satellite and model products of soil moisture and soil temperature. The Tibetan Plateau observatory of plateau scale soil moisture and soil temperature (Tibet-Obs) consists of three regional scale in-situ reference networks, including the Naqu network in a cold semiarid climate, the Maqu network in a cold humid climate and the Ngari network in a cold arid climate. These networks provide a representative coverage of the different climate and land surface hydrometeorological conditions on the Tibetan plateau. In this paper the details of the Tibet-Obs are reported. To demonstrate the uniqueness of the Tibet-Obs in quantifying and explaining soil moisture uncertainties in existing coarse satellite products, an analysis is carried out to assess the reliability of several satellite products for the Naqu and the Maqu network areas. It is concluded that global coarse resolution soil moisture products are useful but exhibit till now unreported uncertainties in cold and semiarid regions – use of them would be critically enhanced if uncertainties can be quantified and reduced using in-situ measurements.

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