Soil moisture monitoring and characterization of the spatial and temporal variability of this hydrologic parameter at scales from small catchments to large river basins continues to receive much attention, reflecting its critical role in subsurface-land surface-atmospheric interactions and its importance to drought analysis, irrigation planning, crop yield forecasting, flood protection, and forest fire prevention. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data acquired at different spatial resolutions have been successfully used to estimate soil moisture in different semi-arid areas of the world for many years. This research investigated the potential of linear multiple regressions and Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) based models that incorporate different geophysical variables with Radarsat 1 SAR fine imagery and concurrently measured soil moisture measurements to estimate surface soil moisture in Nash Draw, NM. An artificial neural network based model with vegetation density, soil type, and elevation data as input in addition to radar backscatter values was found suitable to estimate surface soil moisture in this area with reasonable accuracy. This model was applied to a time series of SAR data acquired in 2006 to produce soil moisture data covering a normal wet season in the study site.
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