On the Estimate of Surface Soil Moisture From ASAR Imagery at Basin Scale: The Mulargia Basin Case Study
Montaldo, N1; Mancini, M2
1UniversitÓ di Cagliari; 2Politecnico di Milano

The state of the root-zone soil moisture is a key variable controlling surface water and energy balances. Emerging efforts in data assimilation seek to guide land surface models with periodic observations of surface soil moisture.

High resolution data of the new ASAR (advanced synthetic aperture radar) sensor aboard European Space Agency's Envisat satellite offers the opportunity for monitoring surface soil moisture at high resolution (up to 30 m), which is suitable for distributed mapping within the small scales of typical Mediterranean basins. Indeed, adequate spatio-temporal monitoring of the soil moisture is essential to improve our capability to simulate the water balance.

As part of a recently-approved European Space Agency (ESA) Envisat AO project, ASAR-based soil moisture mapping of the Mulargia basin (area of about 65, sub-basin of the Flumendosa basin in Sardinia, are available for 2003 and 2004 years. This semi-arid basin has a key role in the water resources management of Sardinia. Semi-arid regions, such as Sardinia island, suffers from water scarcity, which is increasingly due to the broad desertification processes of the Mediterranean area. Within the basin, land surface fluxes are well monitored through two evapotraspiration measurement systems (one eddy correlation technique based station, and one Bowen ratio station), and spatially distributed soil moisture ground-truth data needed to assess the ASAR imagery are collected over the whole basin through the TDR technique and the gravimetric method.

Hence, main objective of this work is to test the high resolution ASAR imagery accuracy for producing maps of surface soil moisture patterns at the catchment scale.


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