Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-294
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-294
28 Jun 2019
 | 28 Jun 2019
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal HESS but the revision was not accepted.

The significance of soil properties to the estimation of soil moisture from C-band synthetic aperture radar

John Beale, Boris Snapir, Toby Waine, Jonathan Evans, and Ronald Corstanje

Abstract. Soil Moisture is a key variable in hydrology, weather and climate modelling. Research has been directed to the estimation of soil moisture over wide areas through a combination of modelling, in-situ measurement and remote sensing to improve the accuracy of hydrological and meteorological forecasting. For monitoring and controlling irrigation and other agricultural purposes, there is also a need to capture local variability. Significant soil moisture differences are observed between and within fields due to land use, soil properties, drainage, tillage, vegetation, solar radiation, air temperature, wind, rain and other factors. Taking the United Kingdom as an example, the average area of agricultural fields is about 12 hectares, requiring a mapping resolution of less than 100 m. Satellite-based remote sensing, including the use of C-band SAR (such as on Sentinel-1), has the potential to satisfy this requirement, but many current data products are aggregated to a spatial resolution of at least 1km and/or provide soil moisture in relative units or indices. Both strategies mitigate the uncertainties introduced by field-scale variability in soil hydrological and vegetation properties. Geospatial datasets of soil properties and land use, crop modelling and other remote sensing techniques may provide an alternative approach to mitigating this variability and allow finer scale products to be produced with acceptable errors. This paper looks at the role of soil properties in the estimation of soil moisture from C-band SAR. We show that information on the soil texture, organic matter content, surface temperature, land use and crop modelling should be important inputs to the success of retrieving soil moisture at the field scale. Previously published data provides guidance in setting soil roughness parameters, based on soil properties, following farming operations such as primary tillage. Beyond soil moisture retrieval, there is exciting potential in SAR remote sensing data to improve the spatial resolution and mapping accuracy of some soil properties.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
John Beale, Boris Snapir, Toby Waine, Jonathan Evans, and Ronald Corstanje
 
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
John Beale, Boris Snapir, Toby Waine, Jonathan Evans, and Ronald Corstanje
John Beale, Boris Snapir, Toby Waine, Jonathan Evans, and Ronald Corstanje

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Latest update: 27 May 2024
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Short summary
Knowledge of soil moisture is important managing their agricultural crops controlling irrigation, predicting flows in rivers and streams, weather forecasting and climate modelling. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) from satellites can provide wide area coverage on a regular basis. This paper investigates the magnitude of the uncertainties that are influenced by soil properties to evaluate the role of existing soil databases in soil moisture retrieval and interpretation.