Previous validation studies have demonstrated the accuracy of the Metop-A ASCAT soil moisture (SM) product, although over- and underestimation during different seasons of the year suggest a need for improving the retrieval algorithm. In this study, we analyzed whether adapting the vegetation characterization based on global parameters to regional conditions improves the seasonal representation of SM and vegetation optical depth (
). SM and
are retrieved from ASCAT using both a seasonal (mean climatological) and a dynamic vegetation characterization that allows for year-to-year changes. The retrieved SM and
are compared with in situ and satellite SM, and with vegetation products (SMAP, AMSR2, and SPOT-VGT/PROBA-V). The study region is set in an agricultural area of Lower Austria that is characterized by heterogeneous land cover and topography, and features an experimental catchment equipped with a SM network (HOAL SoilNet). We found that a stronger vegetation correction within the SM retrieval improves the SM product considerably (increase of the Spearman correlation coefficient
by 0.15 on average, and
comparable to SMAP and AMSR2). The vegetation product derived with a dynamic vegetation characterization compares well to the reference datasets and reflects vegetation dynamics such as start and peak of season and harvest. Although some vegetation effects cannot be corrected by the adapted vegetation characterization, our results demonstrate the benefits of a parameterization optimized for regional conditions in this temperate climate zone.
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