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The Soil Moisture–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (SMACEX): Background, Hydrometeorological Conditions, and Preliminary Findings

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  • 1 Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, ARS, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland
  • | 2 National Soil Tilth Laboratory, ARS, USDA, Ames, Iowa
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Abstract

The Soil Moisture–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (SMACEX) was conducted in conjunction with the Soil Moisture Experiment 2002 (SMEX02) during June and July 2002 near Ames, Iowa—a corn and soybean production region. The primary objective of SMEX02 was the validation of microwave soil moisture retrieval algorithms for existing and new prototype satellite microwave sensor systems under rapidly changing crop biomass conditions. The SMACEX study was designed to provide direct measurement/remote sensing/modeling approaches for understanding the impact of spatial and temporal variability in vegetation cover, soil moisture, and other land surface states on turbulent flux exchange with the atmosphere. The unique dataset consisting of in situ and aircraft measurements of atmospheric, vegetation, and soil properties and fluxes allows for a detailed and rigorous analysis, and the validation of surface states and fluxes being diagnosed using remote sensing methods at various scales. Research results presented in this special issue have illuminated the potential of satellite remote sensing algorithms for soil moisture retrieval, land surface flux estimation, and the assimilation of surface states and diagnostically modeled fluxes into prognostic land surface models. Ground- and aircraft-based remote sensing of the land surface and atmospheric boundary layer properties are used to quantify heat fluxes at the tower footprint and regional scales. Tower- and aircraft-based heat and momentum fluxes are used to evaluate local and regional roughness. The spatial and temporal variations in water, energy, and carbon fluxes from the tower network and aircraft under changing vegetation cover and soil moisture conditions are evaluated. An overview of the experimental site, design, data, hydrometeorological conditions, and results is presented in this introduction, and serves as a preface to this special issue highlighting the SMACEX results.

Corresponding author address: William P. Kustas, USDA-ARS, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab, Bldg. 007, BARC-WEST, Beltsville, MD 20705. Email: bkustas@hydrolab.arsusda.gov

Abstract

The Soil Moisture–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (SMACEX) was conducted in conjunction with the Soil Moisture Experiment 2002 (SMEX02) during June and July 2002 near Ames, Iowa—a corn and soybean production region. The primary objective of SMEX02 was the validation of microwave soil moisture retrieval algorithms for existing and new prototype satellite microwave sensor systems under rapidly changing crop biomass conditions. The SMACEX study was designed to provide direct measurement/remote sensing/modeling approaches for understanding the impact of spatial and temporal variability in vegetation cover, soil moisture, and other land surface states on turbulent flux exchange with the atmosphere. The unique dataset consisting of in situ and aircraft measurements of atmospheric, vegetation, and soil properties and fluxes allows for a detailed and rigorous analysis, and the validation of surface states and fluxes being diagnosed using remote sensing methods at various scales. Research results presented in this special issue have illuminated the potential of satellite remote sensing algorithms for soil moisture retrieval, land surface flux estimation, and the assimilation of surface states and diagnostically modeled fluxes into prognostic land surface models. Ground- and aircraft-based remote sensing of the land surface and atmospheric boundary layer properties are used to quantify heat fluxes at the tower footprint and regional scales. Tower- and aircraft-based heat and momentum fluxes are used to evaluate local and regional roughness. The spatial and temporal variations in water, energy, and carbon fluxes from the tower network and aircraft under changing vegetation cover and soil moisture conditions are evaluated. An overview of the experimental site, design, data, hydrometeorological conditions, and results is presented in this introduction, and serves as a preface to this special issue highlighting the SMACEX results.

Corresponding author address: William P. Kustas, USDA-ARS, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab, Bldg. 007, BARC-WEST, Beltsville, MD 20705. Email: bkustas@hydrolab.arsusda.gov

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