For soils with shallow groundwater and high organic carbon content, water table depth (WTD) is a key parameter to describe their hydrologic state and to estimate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Since the microwave backscatter coefficient (σ0
) is sensitive to soil moisture, the application of Sentinel-1 satellite data might support the monitoring of these climate-relevant soils at high spatial resolution (~100 m) by detecting spatial and temporal changes in local field and water management. Despite the low penetration depth of the C-band, σ0
is influenced by shallow WTD fluctuations via the soil hydraulic connection between the water table and surface soil. Here, we analyzed σ0
at 60 monitoring wells in a drained temperate peatland with degraded organic soils used as extensive grassland. We evaluated temporal Spearman correlation coefficients between σ0
and WTD considering the soil and vegetation information. To account for the effects of seasonal vegetation changes, we used the cross-over (incidence) angle method. Climatologies of the slope of the incidence angle dependency derived from two years of Sentinel-1 data and their application to the cross-over angle method did improve correlations, though the effect was minor. Overall, averaged over all sites, a temporal Spearman correlation coefficient of 0.45 (±0.17) was obtained. The loss of correlation during summer (higher vegetation, deeper WTD) and the effects of cuts and grazing are discussed. The site-specific general wetness level, described by the mean WTD of each site was shown to be a major factor controlling the strength of the correlation. Mean WTD deeper than about −0.60 m lowered the correlations across sites, which might indicate an important limit of the application.
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