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Water 2017, 9(6), 377; doi:10.3390/w9060377

Evaluation of the SMOS-Derived Soil Water Deficit Index as Agricultural Drought Index in Northeast of Brazil

Department of Civil Engineering, University of the Western Plains ‘Ezequiel Zamora’, San Carlos Campus, San Carlos 2201, Venezuela
Laboratório de Analise e Processamento de Imagens de Satélites, Instituto de Ciências Atmosféricas, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, A. C. Simões Campus, Maceió 57072-970, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Athanasios Loukas
Received: 13 March 2017 / Revised: 27 April 2017 / Accepted: 24 May 2017 / Published: 27 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drought Monitoring, Forecasting, and Risk Assessment)
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Northeast Brazil (NEB) has recently experienced one of its worst droughts in the last decades, with large losses on rainfed agriculture. Soil moisture is the main variable to monitor agricultural drought. The remote sensing approach for drought monitoring has been enriched with the launch of the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) in November 2009 by European Space Agency (ESA). In this work, the Soil Water Deficit Index (SWDI) was calculated using the SMOS L2 soil moisture in the NEB. The SMOS-derived SWDI data (SWDIS) were evaluated against the atmospheric water deficit (AWD) calculated from in situ observations. Comparisons were made at seven-day and 0.25° scales, over the time-span of June 2010 to December 2013. It was found that the SWDIS has a reasonably good overall performance in terms of the drought-weeks detection (skill = 0.986) and capture of the upper soil moisture temporal dynamic (r = 0.652), implying that the SWDIS could be used to track agricultural droughts. Furthermore, SWDIS shows poor performance at sites located in mountains regions affected by severe droughts (−0.10 ≤ r ≤ 0.10). It is also noted that the vegetal cover/use, climate regime, and soil texture have little influence on the AWD-SWDIS coupling. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural drought; SMOS; soil moisture; Soil Water Deficit Index; Northeast Brazil agricultural drought; SMOS; soil moisture; Soil Water Deficit Index; Northeast Brazil

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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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Paredes-Trejo, F.; Barbosa, H. Evaluation of the SMOS-Derived Soil Water Deficit Index as Agricultural Drought Index in Northeast of Brazil. Water 2017, 9, 377.

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