Articles | Volume 22, issue 3
Research article
06 Mar 2018
Research article |  | 06 Mar 2018

Controls on surface soil drying rates observed by SMAP and simulated by the Noah land surface model

Peter J. Shellito, Eric E. Small, and Ben Livneh


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Short summary
After soil gets wet, much of the surface moisture evaporates directly back into the air. Recent satellite data show that this process is enhanced when there is more water in the soil, less humidity in the air, and less vegetation covering the ground. A widely used model shows similar effects of soil water and humidity, but it largely misses the role of vegetation and assigns outsized importance to soil type. These results are encouraging evidence that the satellite can be used to improve models.