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Evaluation of SMOS, SMAP, ASCAT and Sentinel-1 Soil Moisture Products at Sites in Southwestern France

IRSTEA, University of Montpellier, TETIS, 500 rue François Breton, 34093 Montpellier CEDEX 5, France
Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la BIOsphère (CESBIO), Université de Toulouse, CNES/CNRS/IRD/UPS, 18 av. Edouard Belin, bpi 2801, 31401 Toulouse CEDEX 9, France
INRA, UMR1391 ISPA, Centre INRA Bordeaux Aquitaine, 33140 Villenave-d’Ornon, France
CNRM UMR 3589, Météo-France/CNRS, 31057 Toulouse, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(4), 569;
Received: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 3 March 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Moisture Remote Sensing Across Scales)
PDF [3044 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


This study evaluates the accuracy of several recent remote sensing Surface Soil Moisture (SSM) products at sites in southwestern France. The products used are Soil Moisture Active Passive “SMAP” (level 3: 36 km × 36 km, level 3 enhanced: 9 km × 9 km, and Level 2 SMAP/Sentinel-1: 1 km × 1km), Advanced Scatterometer “ASCAT” (level 2 with three spatial resolution 25 km × 25 km, 12.5 km × 12.5 km, and 1 km × 1 km), Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity “SMOS” (SMOS INRA-CESBIO “SMOS-IC”, SMOS Near-Real-Time “SMOS-NRT”, SMOS Centre Aval de Traitement des Données SMOS level 3 “SMOS-CATDS”, 25 km × 25 km) and Sentinel-1(S1) (25 km × 25 km, 9 km × 9 km, and 1 km × 1 km). The accuracy of SSM products was computed using in situ measurements of SSM observed at a depth of 5 cm. In situ measurements were obtained from the SMOSMANIA ThetaProbe (Time Domaine reflectometry) network (7 stations between 1 January 2016 and 30 June 2017) and additional field campaigns (near Montpellier city in France, between 1 January 2017 and 31 May 2017) in southwestern France. For our study sites, results showed that (i) the accuracy of the Level 2 SMAP/Sentinel-1 was lower than that of SMAP-36 km and SMAP-9 km; (ii) the SMAP-36 km and SMAP-9 km products provide more precise SSM estimates than SMOS products (SMOS-IC, SMOS-NRT, and SMOS-CATDS), mainly due to higher sensitivity of SMOS to RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) noise; and (iii) the accuracy of SMAP-36 km and SMAP-9 km products was similar to that of ASCAT (ASCAT-25 km, ASCAT-12.5 km and ASCAT-1 km) and S1 (S1-25 km, S1-9 km, and S1-1 km) products. The accuracy of SMAP, Sentinel-1 and ASCAT SSM products calculated using the average of statistics obtained on each site is defined by a bias of about −3.2 vol. %, RMSD (Root Mean Square Difference) about 7.6 vol. %, ubRMSD (unbiased Root Mean Square Difference)about 5.6 vol. %, and R coefficient about 0.57. For SMOS products, the station average bias, RMSD, ubRMSD, and R coefficient were about −10.6 vol. %, 12.7 vol. %, 5.9 vol. %, and 0.49, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: SMOS; SMAP; ASCAT; Sentinel-1; in situ soil moisture; southwestern France SMOS; SMAP; ASCAT; Sentinel-1; in situ soil moisture; southwestern France

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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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El Hajj, M.; Baghdadi, N.; Zribi, M.; Rodríguez-Fernández, N.; Wigneron, J.P.; Al-Yaari, A.; Al Bitar, A.; Albergel, C.; Calvet, J.-C. Evaluation of SMOS, SMAP, ASCAT and Sentinel-1 Soil Moisture Products at Sites in Southwestern France. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 569.

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