In the last years, the availability of new technologies of Earth Observation encouraged researches to use integrated
approaches for environmental monitoring. Even for agro-hydrological applications, remotely sensed data are available on
wide areas allowing the retrieval of cost-effective and representative estimation of high spatial and temporal variability
of the soil-vegetation system variables. In particular, soil water content plays an important role determining the partition
of precipitation between surface runoff and infiltration and, moreover, influences the distribution of the incoming
radiation between latent and sensible heat flux. As a consequence, distributed soil water content maps are essential data
for watershed applications such as flood prediction and crop irrigation scheduling. Since cloud cover has been
highlighted as the main limitation of SW/TIR traditional techniques, this research is focused on the applicability of soil
moisture models based on active microwave. In particular, a Semi Empirical Coupled Model (SECM) is proposed.
Reliable assessments of both surface roughness and dielectric constant (thus soil moisture) are retrieved by means of two
iterative modules, without any calibration phase. The validation with in situ soil moisture, taken at a depth comparable to
the RADAR penetration, gives a good agreement for bare-sparse vegetation coverage. The research is carried out on the
24 km² test-site of DEMMIN (Görmin farm, Mecklenburg Vorpommern), in the North-East of Germany. Data were
acquired within the ESA-funded AgriSAR project, between April and July 2006. The implemented model uses HH, VV
and HV polarized L-bands, acquired by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt -
DLR) using an airborne platform.