Remote Sensing (2015-06-01)

Retrieval and Multi-scale Validation of Soil Moisture from Multi-temporal SAR Data in a Semi-Arid Tropical Region

  • Sat Kumar Tomer,
  • Ahmad Al Bitar,
  • Muddu Sekhar,
  • Mehrez Zribi,
  • S. Bandyopadhyay,
  • K. Sreelash,
  • A.K. Sharma,
  • Samuel Corgne,
  • Yann Kerr

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 6
pp. 8128 – 8153


Read online

The current study presents an algorithm to retrieve surface Soil Moisture (SM) from multi-temporal Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data. The developed algorithm is based on the Cumulative Density Function (CDF) transformation of multi-temporal RADARSAT-2 backscatter coefficient (BC) to obtain relative SM values, and then converts relative SM values into absolute SM values using soil information. The algorithm is tested in a semi-arid tropical region in South India using 30 satellite images of RADARSAT-2, SMOS L2 SM products, and 1262 SM field measurements in 50 plots spanning over 4 years. The validation with the field data showed the ability of the developed algorithm to retrieve SM with RMSE ranging from 0.02 to 0.06 m3/m3 for the majority of plots. Comparison with the SMOS SM showed a good temporal behaviour with RMSE of approximately 0.05 m3/m3 and a correlation coefficient of approximately 0.9. The developed model is compared and found to be better than the change detection and delta index model. The approach does not require calibration of any parameter to obtain relative SM and hence can easily be extended to any region having time series of SAR data available.