An air-to-soil transition model for discrete scattering-emission modelling at L-Band

Hong Zhao, Yijian Zeng, J. Wen, X. Wang, Z. Wang, X. Meng, Zhongbo Su*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Topsoil structures and inhomogeneous distribution of moisture in the soil volume will induce dielectric discontinuities from air to bulk soil, which in turn may induce multiple and volume scattering and affect the microwave surface emission. In situ ELBARA-III L-band radiometer observations of brightness temperature TpB (p =H or V polarization) at the Maqu site on the Eastern Tibetan
Plateau are exploited to understand the effect of surface roughness on coherent and incoherent emission processes. Assisted with in situ soil moisture (SM) and temperature profile measurements, this study develops an air-to-soil transition (ATS) model that incorporates the dielectric roughness (i.e., resulted from fine-scale topsoil structures and the soil volume) characterized by SM and geometric roughness effects, and demonstrates the necessity of the ATS model for modelling L-band TpB. The Wilheit (1978) coherent and Lv et al. (2014) incoherent models are compared for determining the dielectric constant of bulk soil in the ATS zone and for calculating soil effective temperature Teff . The Tor Vergata discrete scattering model (TVG) integrated with the advanced integral equation model (AIEM) is used as the baseline model configuration for simulating L-band TpB. Whereafter, the ATS model is integrated with the foregoing model for assessing its performance. Results show the ATS-based models reduce the underestimation of TpB (≈20-50 K) by the baseline simulations. Being dynamic in nature, the proposed dielectric roughness parameterization in the ATS model significantly improves the ability in interpreting TpB dynamics, which is
important for improving SM retrieval at the global scale.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3962350
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2021


  • Air-to-soil transition
  • surface roughness
  • microwave modelling
  • scattering-emission


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