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The Evaluation of SMAP Enhanced Soil Moisture Products Using High-Resolution Model Simulations and In-Situ Observations on the Tibetan Plateau

Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Joint Center for Global Change Studies, Beijing 100875, China
Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Institute of Land Surface System and Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(4), 535;
Received: 4 February 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 31 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Moisture Remote Sensing Across Scales)
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The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission was designed to provide a global mapping of soil moisture (SM) measured by L-band passive and active microwave sensors. In this study, we evaluate the newly released SMAP enhanced SM products over the Tibetan Plateau by performing comparisons among SMAP standard products, in-situ observations and Community Land Model (CLM) simulations driven by high-resolution meteorological forcing. At local scales, the enhanced SMAP products, the standard products and CLM simulations all generally compare well with the in-situ observations. The SMAP products show stronger correlations (0.64–0.88) but slightly larger unbiased root mean square errors (ubRMSE, ~0.06) relative to the CLM simulations (0.58–0.79 and 0.037–0.047, for correlation and ubRMSE, respectively). At the regional scale, both SMAP products show similar spatial distributions of SM on the TP (Tibetan Plateau), although, as expected, the enhanced product provides more fine details. The SMAP enhanced product is in good agreement with model simulations with respect to temporal and spatial variations in SM over most of the TP. Regions with low correlation between SMAP enhanced products and model simulations are mainly located in the northwestern TP and regions of complex topography, where meteorological stations are sparse and non-existent or elevation is highly variable. In such remote regions, CLM simulations may be problematic due to inaccurate land cover maps and/or uncertainties in meteorological forcing. The independent, high-resolution observations provided by SMAP could help to constrain the model simulation and, ultimately, improve the skill of models in these problematic regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Soil Moisture Active Passive; evaluation; in situ observations; CLM simulations Soil Moisture Active Passive; evaluation; in situ observations; CLM simulations

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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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Li, C.; Lu, H.; Yang, K.; Han, M.; Wright, J.S.; Chen, Y.; Yu, L.; Xu, S.; Huang, X.; Gong, W. The Evaluation of SMAP Enhanced Soil Moisture Products Using High-Resolution Model Simulations and In-Situ Observations on the Tibetan Plateau. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 535.

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