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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(4), 362; doi:10.3390/rs9040362

Spaceborne GNSS-R from the SMAP Mission: First Assessment of Polarimetric Scatterometry over Land and Cryosphere

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Nicolas Baghdadi and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 21 December 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 7 April 2017 / Published: 12 April 2017


This work describes the first global scale assessment of a Global Navigation Satellite Systems Reflectometry (GNSS-R) experiment performed on-board the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission for soil moisture and biomass determination. Scattered GPS L2 signals (1227.6 MHz) were collected by the SMAP’s dual-polarization (Horizontal H and Vertical V) radar receiver and then processed on-ground using a known replica of the GPS L2C code. The scattering properties over land are evaluated using the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR), the Polarimetric Ratio (PR), and the width of the waveforms’ trailing and leading edges. These parameters show sensitivity to the effects of the Earth’s topography and Above Ground Biomass (ABG) even over Amazonian and Boreal forests. These effects are shown to be an important factor in precise soil moisture and biomass determination. Additionally, it is found that PR shows sensitivity to soil moisture content over different land cover types. In particular, the following values of the PR are found over: (a) tropical forests ~−1.2 dB; (b) boreal forests ~0.8 dB; (c) Greenland ~2.8 dB; and (d) the Sahara Desert ~3.2 dB. View Full-Text
Keywords: GNSS-Reflectometry; SMAP; polarimetry; scatterometry; soil moisture; biomass GNSS-Reflectometry; SMAP; polarimetry; scatterometry; soil moisture; biomass

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Carreno-Luengo, H.; Lowe, S.; Zuffada, C.; Esterhuizen, S.; Oveisgharan, S. Spaceborne GNSS-R from the SMAP Mission: First Assessment of Polarimetric Scatterometry over Land and Cryosphere. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 362.

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