Soil Moisture Retrieval from Active Spaceborne Microwave Observations: An Evaluation of Current Techniques
The importance of land surface-atmosphere interactions, principally the effects of soil moisture, on hydrological, meteorological, and ecological processes has gained widespread recognition over recent decades. Its high spatial and temporal variability however, makes soil moisture a difficult parameter to measure and monitor effectively using traditional methods. Microwave remote sensing technology has demonstrated the potential to map and monitor relative soil moisture changes over large areas at regular intervals in time and also the opportunity of measuring, through inverse modelling, absolute soil moisture values. This ability has been demonstrated under a variety of topographic and land cover conditions using both active and passive microwave instruments. The purpose of this paper is to review the current status of soil moisture determination from active microwave remote sensing systems and to highlight the key areas of research that will have to be addressed to achieve routine use of the proposed retrieval approaches.