31 January 1995 Seasonal changes in surface soil moisture and vegetation observed by ERS-1 SAR over temperate grassland and semi-arid savannah
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Soil moisture exerts an important control on the transfer of energy and water at the land surface and its availability determines, to a large extent, the development of vegetation. Satellite remote sensing using synthetic aperture radar has the potential to monitor spatial and temporal changes in surface soil moisture provided the effects of, primarily, vegetation and surface roughness are understood. The results obtained from ground validation measurements undertaken during an annual vegetation cycle in contrasting temperate and semi-arid climates enabled the sensitivity of the SAR to be tested over a wide range of soil moisture and vegetation conditions. In the UK, flat, grassland sites were used to simplify the modeling of vegetation over three contrasting soil types. Both manually read and data-logged instruments were used to monitor moisture conditions both at the surface and within the soil moisture profile for modeling their interrelationships over time. Vegetation parameters were determined through destructive sampling. In Niger the soils were of almost pure sand under both the natural vegetation of fallow savannah and the main crop of millet. As a result of the high permeability of the sand, the timing of SAR data acquisition relative to the last rainfall event was believed to be an important factor affecting radar backscatter. For both areas, seasonal variations in radar backscatter were present and evidence to demonstrate the contribution of the vegetation and soil components is given.
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Ken Blyth "Seasonal changes in surface soil moisture and vegetation observed by ERS-1 SAR over temperate grassland and semi-arid savannah", Proc. SPIE 2314, Multispectral and Microwave Sensing of Forestry, Hydrology, and Natural Resources, (31 January 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.200771; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.200771


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