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Derivation of surface soil moisture from ENVISAT ASAR wide swath and image mode data in agricultural areas

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Loew, A., Ludwig, R., & Mauser, W. (2006). Derivation of surface soil moisture from ENVISAT ASAR wide swath and image mode data in agricultural areas. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 44(4), 889-899. doi:10.1109/TGRS.2005.863858.

Water and energy fluxes at the interface between the land surface and atmosphere are strongly dependent on surface soil moisture content, which is highly variable in space and time. It has been shown in numerous studies that microwave remote sensing can provide spatially distributed patterns of surface soil moisture. In order to use remote-sensing-derived soil moisture information for practical applications as, for example, flood forecasting and water balance modeling in mesoscale areas, frequent large-area coverage is a prerequisite. New sensor generations such as ENVISAT Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) or RADARSAT allow for image acquisitions in different imaging modes and geometries. Imaging modes with the capability of large-area coverage, such as the Wide Swath Mode of ENVISAT ASAR, are of special interest for practical applications in this context. This paper presents a semiempirical soil moisture inversion scheme for ENVISAT ASAR data. Different land cover types as well as mixed-image pixels are taken into account in the soil moisture retrieval process. The inversion results are validated against in situ measurements, and a sensitivity analysis of the model is conducted.