Satellite soil moisture is a critical variable for identifying susceptibility to hydroclimatic risks such as drought, dryness, and excess moisture. Satellite soil moisture data from the Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) mission was used to evaluate the sensitivity to hydroclimatic risk events in Canada. The SMAP soil moisture data sets in general capture relative moisture trends with the best estimates from the passive-only derived soil moisture and little difference between the data at different spatial resolutions. In general, SMAP data sets overestimated the magnitude of moisture at the wet extremes of wetting events. A soil moisture difference from average (SMDA) was calculated from SMAP and historical Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) data showed a relatively good delineation of hydroclimatic risk events, although caution must be taken due to the large variability in the data within risk categories. Satellite soil moisture data sets are more sensitive to short term water shortages than longer term water deficits. This was not improved by adding “memory” to satellite soil moisture indices to improve the sensitivity of the data to drought, and there is a large variability in satellite soil moisture values with the same drought severity rating.
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