Evaluation of the SMOS and SMAP soil moisture products under different vegetation types against two sparse in situ networks over arid mountainous watersheds, Northwest China

Lanhui Zhang, Chansheng He, Mingmin Zhang, Yi Zhu
2019 Science China. Earth Sciences  
Assessment of the suitability of satellite soil moisture products at large scales is urgently needed for numerous climatic and hydrological researches, particularly in arid mountainous watersheds where soil moisture plays a key role in landatmosphere exchanges. This study presents evaluation of the SMOS (L2) and SMAP (L2_P_E and L2_P) products against ground-based observations from the Upstream of the Heihe River Watershed in situ Soil Moisture Network (UHRWSMN) and the Ecological and
more » ... al Wireless Sensor Network (EHWSN) over arid high mountainous watersheds, Northwest China. Results show that all the three products are reliable in catching the temporal trend of the in situ observations at both point and watershed scales in the study area. Due to the uncertainty in brightness temperature and the underestimation of effective temperature, the SMOS L2 product and both the SMAP L2 products show "dry bias" in the high, cold mountainous area. Because of the more accurate brightness temperature observations viewing at a constant angle and more suitable estimations of single scattering albedo and optical depth, both the SMAP L2 products performed significantly better than the SMOS product. Moreover, comparing with station density of in situ network, station representation is much more important in the evaluation of the satellite soil moisture products. Based on our analysis, we propose the following suggestions for improvement of the SMOS and SMAP product suitability in the mountainous areas: further optimization of effective temperature; revision of the retrieval algorithm of the SMOS mission to reduce the topographic impacts; and, careful selection of in situ observation stations for better representation of in situ network in future evaluations. All these improvements would lead to better applicability of the SMOS and SMAP products for soil moisture estimation to the high elevation and topographically complex mountainous areas in arid regions.
doi:10.1007/s11430-018-9308-9 fatcat:fdin33amwnekhno2ettm4t3p64