Evaluating the long-term spatiotemporal variability in soil moisture (SM) over Africa is crucial for understanding how crop production is affected by drought or flooding. However, the lack of continuous and stable long-term series and high-resolution soil moisture records impedes such research. To overcome the inconsistency of different microwave sensors (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS, AMSR-E; Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity, SMOS; and Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2, AMSR2) in measuring soil moisture over time and depth, we built a time series reconstruction model to correct SM, and then used a Spatially Weighted Downscaling Model to downscale the SM data from three different sensors to a 1 km spatial resolution. The verification of the reconstructed data shows that the product has high accuracy, and can be used for application and analysis. The spatiotemporal trends of SM in Africa were examined for 2003–2017. The analysis indicated that soil moisture is declining in Africa as a whole, and it is notably higher in central Africa than in other subregions. The most significant decrease in SM was observed in the savanna zone (slope < −0.08 m3
and P < 0.001), followed by South Africa and Namibia (slope < −0.07 m3
and P < 0.01). Seasonally, the most significant downward trends in SM were observed during the spring, mainly over eastern and central Africa (slope < −0.07 m3
, R < −0.58 and P < 0.001). The analysis of spatiotemporal changes in soil moisture can help improve the understanding of hydrological cycles, and provide benchmark information for drought management in Africa.
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