Estimation of Penetration Depth from Soil Effective Temperature in Microwave Radiometry

Shaoning Lv (Corresponding Author), Yijian Zeng, Jun Wen, Hong Zhao, Zhongbo Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Soilmoisture is an essential variable in Earth surfacemodeling. Two dedicated satellitemissions, the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), are currently in operation to map the global distribution of soil moisture. However, at the longer L-band wavelength of these satellites, the emitting behavior of the land becomes very complex due to the unknown deeper penetration depth. This complexity leads to more uncertainty in calibration and validation of satellite soil moisture product and their applications. In the framework of zeroth-order incoherent microwave radiative transfer model, the soil effective temperature is the only component that contains depth information and thus provides the necessary link to quantify the penetration depth. By means of the multi-layer soil effective temperature (Lv's T eff) scheme, we have determined the relationship between the penetration depth and soil effective temperature and verified it against field observations at the Maqu Network. The key findings are that the penetration depth can be estimated according to Lv's T eff scheme with the assumption of linear soil temperature gradient along the optical depth; and conversely, the soil temperature at the penetration depth should be equal to the soil effective temperature with the same linear assumption. The accuracy of this inference depends on to what extent the assumption of linear soil temperature gradient is satisfied. The result of this study is expected to advance understanding of the soil moisture products retrieved by SMOS and SMAP and improve the techniques in data assimilation and climate research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number519
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018




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