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Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (1): 84-100    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0075-6
Orginal Article     
Utilizing a new soil effective temperature scheme and archived satellite microwave brightness temperature data to estimate surface soil moisture in the Nagqu region, Tibetan Plateau of China
Hui TIAN1,*(), IQBAL Mudassar1,2
1 Key Laboratory of Land Surface Process and Climate Change in Cold and Arid Regions, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Since the early 2000s, many satellite passive microwave brightness temperature (BT) archives, such as the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) BTs, have become the useful resources for assessing the changes in the surface and deep soil moistures over both arid and semi-arid regions. In this study, we used a new soil effective temperature (Teff) scheme and the archived AMSR-E BTs to estimate surface soil moisture (SM) over the Nagqu region in the central Tibetan Plateau, China. The surface and deep soil temperatures required for the calculation of regional-scale Teff were obtained from outputs of the Community Land Model version 4.5 (CLM4.5). In situ SM measurements at the CEOP-CAMP/Tibet (Coordinated Enhanced Observing Period Asia-Australia Monsoon Project on the Tibetan Plateau) experimental sites were used to validate the AMSR-E-based SM estimations at regional and single-site scales. Furthermore, the spatial distribution of monthly mean surface SM over the Nagqu region was obtained from 16 daytime AMSR-E BT observations in July 2004 over the Nagqu region. Results revealed that the AMSR-E-based surface SM estimations agreed well with the in situ-based surface SM measurements, with the root mean square error (RMSE) ranging from 0.042 to 0.066 m3/m3 and the coefficient of determination (R2) ranging from 0.71 to 0.92 during the nighttime and daytime. The regional surface soil water state map showed a clear spatial pattern related to the terrain. It indicated that the lower surface SM values occurred in the mountainous areas of the northern, mid-western and southeastern parts of Nagqu region, while the higher surface SM values appeared in the low elevation areas such as the Tongtian River Basin, Namco Lake and bog meadows in the central part of Nagqu region. Our analysis also showed that the new Teff scheme does not require special fitting parameters or additional assumptions, which simplifies the data requirements for regional-scale applications. This scheme combined with the archived satellite passive microwave BT observations can be used to estimate the historical surface SM for hydrological process studies over the Tibetan Plateau regions.

Key wordssoil effective temperature      archived AMSR-E brightness temperature      CLM4.5 soil temperature output      Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF) matching      surface soil moisture      Tibetan Plateau     
Received: 26 June 2017      Published: 10 February 2018
Corresponding Authors: Hui TIAN     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Hui TIAN, IQBAL Mudassar. Utilizing a new soil effective temperature scheme and archived satellite microwave brightness temperature data to estimate surface soil moisture in the Nagqu region, Tibetan Plateau of China. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(1): 84-100.

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