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Incorporation of Passive Microwave Brightness Temperatures in the ECMWF Soil Moisture Analysis

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Shinfield Road, Reading RG2 9AX, UK
Academic Editors: Nicolas Baghdadi and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 5758-5784;
Received: 22 October 2014 / Revised: 11 March 2015 / Accepted: 1 April 2015 / Published: 6 May 2015
PDF [7240 KB, uploaded 6 May 2015]


For more than a decade, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has used in-situ observations of 2 m temperature and 2 m relative humidity to operationally constrain the temporal evolution of model soil moisture. These observations are not available everywhere and they are indirectly linked to the state of the surface, so under various circumstances, such as weak radiative forcing or strong advection, they cannot be used as a proxy for soil moisture reinitialization in numerical weather prediction. Recently, the ECMWF soil moisture analysis has been updated to be able to account for the information provided by microwave brightness temperatures from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). This is the first time that ECMWF uses direct information of the soil emission from passive microwave data to globally adjust the estimation of soil moisture by a land-surface model. This paper presents a novel version of the ECMWF Extended Kalman Filter soil moisture analysis to account for remotely sensed passive microwave data. It also discusses the advantages of assimilating direct satellite radiances compared to current soil moisture products, with a view to an operational implementation. A simple assimilation case study at global scale highlights the potential benefits and obstacles of using this new type of information in a global coupled land-atmospheric model. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil moisture; SMOS; passive microwaves; assimilation; coupled systems soil moisture; SMOS; passive microwaves; assimilation; coupled systems

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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Muñoz-Sabater, J. Incorporation of Passive Microwave Brightness Temperatures in the ECMWF Soil Moisture Analysis. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 5758-5784.

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