SMOS soil moisture product validation in croplands
A validation campaign has been carried out to evaluate the Level 2 Soil Moisture (SM) product (version 5.51) given by the European Space Agency (ESA) Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite in the Pampean Region of Argentina. The study region was selected because it is a plain, avoiding topography problems, with an SMOS nominal land use class (low vegetation crops, 1-2m height). Transects of ground SM measurements were collected at 5-cm and 6-cm depth using Delta-T ThetaProbe ML2x and Stevens Hydra Probe II SM sensors, respectively. The volumetric measurements were calibrated using gravimetric and bulk density data collected at the same time as the SM sensor measurements. The SM transects covered ISEA-grid SMOS nodes over four extensive agricultural areas with prevalence of soy crops (site 1: -32.982N, -62.505E; site 2: -32.510N, -62.788E; site 3: -32.024N, -63.692E; and site 4: -37.315N, -58.868E, WGS84). The validation sites were selected taking as reference the locations of permanent SM stations property of the Argentinean Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE, National Commission of Space Activities), Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA, National Institute of Farming Technology) and Instituto de Hidrología de Llanuras (IHLLA, Plain Hydrology Institute). Therefore, additionally to validate the SMOS SM product with the ground data collected during the experimental campaign, the measurements are useful to evaluate the station SM data reliability at the SMOS spatial resolution with the aim of using station data series as reference to test different versions of the SMOS SM product. Previously to the campaign, SMOS SM data variability, ESA Globcover land use classification, soil edaphic properties, water bodies and topography were analyzed around the station locations to select the best sites and the experimental methodology. Temperature vegetation dryness index (TVDI) temporal and spatial variability was also studied at the sites. Additionally, transects of land surface temperature were carried out with Cimel Electronique CE312 6-band radiometers concurrently with thermal-infrared (TIR) satellite overpasses. In previous works, we studied the dependence of land surface emissivities on SM. The analysis of concurrent TIR and SM data make possible to evaluate the utility of the SMOS SM product to improve land surface emissivities and temperature determinations from satellite, giving an added value to the research.