On the use of dual-polarized multi-angular observations of P-band brightness temperature for soil moisture profile retrieval in thawed mineral soil

Konstantin V. Muzalevskiy,Jeffrey P. Walker,Foad Brakhasi,Nan Ye,Xiaoling Wu &Xiaoji Shen// International Journal Of Remote Sensing //


This article investigated the possibility of remotely sensing the soil moisture profile in thawed soil from multi-angular dual-polarized brightness temperature (TB) observations at P-band frequencies of 750 MHz and 409 MHz using a modified Burke model. Moreover, it was found that an excellent agreement (coefficient of determination R2 = 0.999 and root-mean-square error (RMSE) no more than RMSE = 0.6 K) could be achieved between the Njoku coherent brightness temperature model and the modified Burke model by introducing a reflectivity from the air-soil interface that takes into account the phases of the multiple re-reflected waves in the underlying layers. Based on the modified Burke model, the depths from which apparent moisture and temperature could be retrieved in a dielectrically-inhomogeneous, non-isothermal soil were investigated, being approximately ten times less than the depth for which apparent soil temperature could be retrieved. In general, the thickness of the emitting layer depends on the TB look angle and polarization, along with the moisture and temperature profiles of the soil. It was also shown that due to the effect of the Brewster angle, the H-polarization of TB was twice as sensitive (4 K/1%) to changes in volumetric soil moisture than V-polarization (1.9 K/1%). Based on multi-angular (10°-50°) observations of TB at H- and V-polarizations, a method of moisture profile retrieval in the top 5–15 cm soil (depending on surface moisture) was proposed using an exponential fitting function, the parameters of which are found in the course of solving the inverse problem. A decrease in the sensing frequency from 750 MHz to 409 MHz makes it possible to increase the accuracy of soil moisture profiles retrieval by a factor of two, being from RMSE = 1.6% (R2 = 0.946) to RMSE = 0.85% (R2 = 0.982) in the top 15 cm layer of soil. The conducted investigation shows the promise of using P-band observations of TB for soil moisture profile retrieval.