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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(4), 1603-1623; doi:10.3390/rs5041603

Evaluation of Soil Moisture Retrieval from the ERS and Metop Scatterometers in the Lower Mekong Basin

1,2,* , 2
1 Department of Remote Sensing, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany 2 German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Münchener Str. 20, 82234 Wessling, Germany 3 Research Group Remote Sensing, Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation (GEO), Vienna University of Technology, Gusshaus Str. 27-29, 1040 Vienna, Austria 4 Section 5.4: Hydrology, GFZ German Research Centre for Geoscience, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 February 2013 / Revised: 20 March 2013 / Accepted: 21 March 2013 / Published: 27 March 2013
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The natural environment and livelihoods in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) are significantly affected by the annual hydrological cycle. Monitoring of soil moisture as a key variable in the hydrological cycle is of great interest in a number of Hydrological and agricultural applications. In this study we evaluated the quality and spatiotemporal variability of the soil moisture product retrieved from C-band scatterometers data across the LMB sub-catchments. The soil moisture retrieval algorithm showed reasonable performance in most areas of the LMB with the exception of a few sub-catchments in the eastern parts of Laos, where the land cover is characterized by dense vegetation. The best performance of the retrieval algorithm was obtained in agricultural regions. Comparison of the available in situ evaporation data in the LMB and the Basin Water Index (BWI), an indicator of the basin soil moisture condition, showed significant negative correlations up to R = −0.85. The inter-annual variation of the calculated BWI was also found corresponding to the reported extreme hydro-meteorological events in the Mekong region. The retrieved soil moisture data show high correlation (up to R = 0.92) with monthly anomalies of precipitation in non-irrigated regions. In general, the seasonal variability of soil moisture in the LMB was well captured by the retrieval method. The results of analysis also showed significant correlation between El Niño events and the monthly BWI anomaly measurements particularly for the month May with the maximum correlation of R = 0.88.
Keywords: soil moisture; Scatterometer; ASCAT; Mekong soil moisture; Scatterometer; ASCAT; Mekong
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Naeimi, V.; Leinenkugel, P.; Sabel, D.; Wagner, W.; Apel, H.; Kuenzer, C. Evaluation of Soil Moisture Retrieval from the ERS and Metop Scatterometers in the Lower Mekong Basin. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 1603-1623.

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