High resolution soil moisture mapping

J. P. Walker, G. Dumedah, A. Monerris, Y. Gao, C. Rüdiger, X. Wu, R. Panciera, O. Merlin, R. Pipunic, D. Ryu, M. Zreda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Soil moisture information is of critical importance to real-world applications such as agriculture, water resource management, flood, fire and landslide prediction, mobility, soil hydraulic parameter estimation etc. Many of these applications require soil moisture information at high resolution. While this may be estimated from land surface models, the predictions are often poor due to inadequate model physics, poor parameter estimates and erroneous atmospheric forcing data. An alternative is remote sensing but most techniques only give a soil moisture estimate for the top few centimetres. Moreover, the sensors that give the most reliable soil moisture estimates (passive microwave) have relatively low spatial resolution from space, being on the order of 50 km. Such sensors include the European Space Agency (ESA) Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission launched in Nov 2009, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission scheduled for launch in Oct 2014. Other high spatial resolution satellite observations such as active microwave, visible and thermal have been shown to contain information on soil moisture, but their data is noisy and/or difficult to interpret. However, it is expected that the low resolution passive microwave data may be downscaled using the noisy high resolution data and/or modeling. For example, SMAP will provide a better than 10 km resolution soil moisture product by merging 3 km active microwave data with 40 km passive microwave data. This paper presents some examples of high resolution soil moisture mapping from ground and airborne techniques, combined active-passive satellite soil moisture retrieval, optical downscaling, and assimilation into a high resolution land surface model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDigital Soil Assessments and Beyond - Proceedings of the Fifth Global Workshop on Digital Soil Mapping
PublisherTaylor and Francis - Balkema
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780415621557
StatePublished - 2012
Event5th Global Workshop on Digital Soil Mapping - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Duration: Apr 10 2012Apr 13 2012

Publication series

NameDigital Soil Assessments and Beyond - Proceedings of the Fifth Global Workshop on Digital Soil Mapping


Other5th Global Workshop on Digital Soil Mapping
CitySydney, NSW

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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