Fang, B; Lakshmi, V; Bindlish, R; Jackson, TJ; Liu, PW (2020). Evaluation and validation of a high spatial resolution satellite soil moisture product over the Continental United States. JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY, 588, 125043.

The soil moisture (SM) data retrieved from the Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) satellite are available at a 9km grid spacing since April 2015. This product can provide valuable information for research and applications in hydrology and other related fields. However, the resolution may be too coarse for applications at catchment or field scale. In this study, an established downscaling methodology, which had a major modification regarding its application on the SMAP 33 km domain, was implemented to develop a 1 km soil moisture product based on the SMAP 9km data. The algorithm proposed here is based on the thermal inertia principle and developed by modeling the relationship between surface temperature difference and SM for different Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) classes. The model functions were established and tuned using data from the NASA's Land Information System (LIS) North America Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) and remotely sensed VISible/InfRared (VIS/IR) reflectance data from Long Term Data Record (LTDR) AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) for the growing season months of April-September 1981-2018. These were then implemented using the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data over the Continental United States (CONUS) domain. Validation activities were carried out using in situ measurements distributed through the International Soil Moisture Network (ISMN). The validation results computed using the 1 km SM data showed that the R-2, unbiased RMSE (root mean square error) and bias were improved relative to the 9km SMAP product by 0.045, 0.018 m(3)/m(3) and 0.001 m(3)/m(3), respectively. The 1 km SM also exhibited a strong time-series autocorrelation. Further accuracy assessment analyses indicated that precipitation might contribute to the uncertainties in both the 9km SMAP and 1 km downscaled SMAP SM products.