EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Passive Microwave Retrieval of Soil Moisture Below Snowpack at L-Band Using SMAP Observations

Ebtehaj Ardeshir and Divya Kumawat
Ebtehaj Ardeshir and Divya Kumawat
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Soil and its water content can remain unfrozen below an insulative snow cover and modulate snowmelt infiltration and runoff. In this article, an emission model is proposed to account for L-band microwave emission of wet soils below a dry snowpack covered with an emerging moderately dense vegetation canopy. The model links the well-known Tau–Omega emission model with the snowpack dense media radiative transfer (DMRT) theory and a multilayer composite reflection model to account for the impacts of a snow layer on the upwelling soil and the downwelling vegetation emission, respectively. It is demonstrated that even though dry snow is a low-loss medium at the L-band, omission of its presence leads to underestimation of soil moisture (SM), especially when soil (snow) becomes wetter (denser). Constrained inversion of the proposed emission model, using brightness temperatures from the Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) satellite, shows that the retrievals of SM and vegetation optical depth (VOD) are achievable with unbiased root-mean-squared errors of 0.060 m3m3 and 0.124 [–], when compared with the in situ data from the International Soil Moisture Network (ISMN) and VOD-derived values from the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) obtained from the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations.

How to cite: Ardeshir, E. and Kumawat, D.: Passive Microwave Retrieval of Soil Moisture Below Snowpack at L-Band Using SMAP Observations, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-8302,, 2023.