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Proceedings Paper

Development of long-wave microwave satellite systems for measuring soil moisture
Author(s): Edwin T. Engman
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Paper Abstract

The science need for remotely sensed soil moisture has been well established in the hydrologic, climate change and weather forecasting communities. There also have been a number of programs that have demonstrated the feasibility of using long wave microwave sensors for estimating soil moisture. These have ranged from truck mounted sensors, to intensive airborne campaigns with science objectives. Based on this history of truck and aircraft experiments, the science community has settled on a soil moisture product that meets the following criteria: a two day global repeat, a measured layer of 5 cm of soil, a footprint of 20 to 30 km, and an absolute accuracy of plus or minus 4% volumetric soil moisture. The principal sensor to accomplish this is an L-band passive microwave radiometer. A soil moisture mission is being proposed for the NASA Earth Systems Science Pathfinder (ESSP) mission which has very real constraints of a limited budget which includes the launch vehicle, and a three year award to launch time schedule. Within the past few years there have been a number of mission concepts proposed that meet the challenge of getting a very large antenna in space in order to realize a spatial resolution on the ground that meets the science and applications needs. This paper describes some of the alternative concepts considered to meet these unusual requirements and the ways to solve the very large antenna challenge, and the criteria used to choose the final design for an ESSP proposal. The paper also discusses the alternatives considered to obtain the necessary ancillary data for characterizing the surface roughness, the surface temperature and the attenuation affects of vegetation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 December 1998
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 3498, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites II, (21 December 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.333668
Show Author Affiliations
Edwin T. Engman, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3498:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites II
Hiroyuki Fujisada, Editor(s)

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