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Remote Sensing








Improving the spatial resolution of microwave satellite soil moisture (SM) products is important for various applications. Most of the downscaling methods that fuse optical/thermal and microwave data rely on remotely sensed land surface temperature (LST) or LST-derived SM indexes (SMIs). However, these methods suffer from the problems of “cloud contamination”, “decomposing uncertainty”, and “decoupling effect”. This study presents a new downscaling method, referred to as DSCALE_mod16, without using LST and LST-derived SMIs. This model combines MODIS ET products and a gridded meteorological data set to obtain Land surface Evaporative Efficiency (LEE) as the main downscaling factor. A cosine-square form of downscaling function was adopted to represent the quantitative relationship between LEE and SM. Taking the central part of the United States as the case study area, we downscaled SMAP (Soil Moisture Active and Passive) SM products with an original resolution of 36km to a resolution of 500m. The study period spans more than three years from 2015 to 2018. In situ SM measurements from three sparse networks and three core validation sites (CVS) were used to evaluate the downscaling model. The evaluation results indicate that the downscaled SM values maintain the spatial dynamic range of original SM data while providing more spatial details. Moreover, the moisture mass is conserved during the downscaling process. The downscaled SM values have a good agreement with in situ SM measurements. The unbiased root-mean-square errors (ubRMSEs) of downscaled SM values is 0.035 m3/m3 at Fort Cobb, 0.026 m3/m3 at Little Washita, and 0.055 m3/m3 at South Fork, which are comparable to ubRMSEs of original SM estimates at these three CVS.


downscaling, soil moisture, DSCALE_mod16, Land surface Evaporative Efficiency (LEE), Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Urban and Regional Planning