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Sensors 2008, 8(7), 4213-4248; doi:10.3390/s8074213

On the Soil Roughness Parameterization Problem in Soil Moisture Retrieval of Bare Surfaces from Synthetic Aperture Radar

1,* , 1
1 Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Management, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium 2 Christian Doppler Laboratory, Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), Gusshausstraβe 27-29, 1040 Vienna, Austria 3 Department of Projects and Rural Engineering, Public University of Navarre, Los Tejos, Arrosadia s/n, 31006 Pamplona, Spain 4 USDA ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center, 2000 E. Allen Rd., Tucson AZ 85719, Arizona, USA 5 Consiglo Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Intelligenti per l’Automazione (ISSIA), via Amendola 122/D, I-70126 Bari, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 May 2008 / Revised: 30 May 2008 / Accepted: 25 June 2008 / Published: 15 July 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR))
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Synthetic Aperture Radar has shown its large potential for retrieving soil moisture maps at regional scales. However, since the backscattered signal is determined by several surface characteristics, the retrieval of soil moisture is an ill-posed problem when using single configuration imagery. Unless accurate surface roughness parameter values are available, retrieving soil moisture from radar backscatter usually provides inaccurate estimates. The characterization of soil roughness is not fully understood, and a large range of roughness parameter values can be obtained for the same surface when different measurement methodologies are used. In this paper, a literature review is made that summarizes the problems encountered when parameterizing soil roughness as well as the reported impact of the errors made on the retrieved soil moisture. A number of suggestions were made for resolving issues in roughness parameterization and studying the impact of these roughness problems on the soil moisture retrieval accuracy and scale.
Keywords: Soil roughness; Soil moisture retrieval; Synthetic Aperture Radar; Uncertainty. Soil roughness; Soil moisture retrieval; Synthetic Aperture Radar; Uncertainty.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Verhoest, N.E.; Lievens, H.; Wagner, W.; Álvarez-Mozos, J.; Moran, M.S.; Mattia, F. On the Soil Roughness Parameterization Problem in Soil Moisture Retrieval of Bare Surfaces from Synthetic Aperture Radar. Sensors 2008, 8, 4213-4248.

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