Articles | Volume 16, issue 2
Research article
09 Feb 2012
Research article |  | 09 Feb 2012

Comparing soil moisture retrievals from SMOS and ASCAT over France

M. Parrens, E. Zakharova, S. Lafont, J.-C. Calvet, Y. Kerr, W. Wagner, and J.-P. Wigneron

Abstract. The first products derived over France in 2010 from the L-band brightness temperatures (Tb) measured by the SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) satellite, launched in November 2009, were compared with the surface soil moisture (SSM) estimates produced by the C-band Advanced Scatterometer, ASCAT, launched in 2006 on board METOP-A. SMOS and ASCAT SSM products were compared with the simulations of the ISBA-A-gs model and with in situ measurements from the SMOSMANIA network, including 21 stations located in southern France. ASCAT tended to correlate better than SMOS with ISBA-A-gs. The significant anomaly correlation coefficients between in situ observations and the SMOS (ASCAT) product ranged from 0.23 to 0.48 (0.35 to 0.96). However, in wet conditions, similar results between the two satellite products were found. An attempt was made to derive SSM from regressed empirical logarithmic equations using a combination of SMOS Tb at different incidence angles and different polarizations, and the Leaf Area Index (LAI) modeled by ISBA-A-gs. The analysis of the intercept coefficient of the regression showed an impact of topography. A similar analysis applied to ASCAT and SMOS SSM values showed a more limited impact of topography on the intercept coefficient of the SMOS SSM product, while fewer residual geographic patterns were found for the ASCAT SSM.