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  • Author or Editor: John M. Jackson x
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Fuqin Li, William P. Kustas, John H. Prueger, Christopher M. U. Neale, and Thomas J. Jackson

Abstract

Two resistance network formulations that are used in a two-source model for parameterizing soil and canopy energy exchanges are evaluated for a wide range of soybean and corn crop cover and soil moisture conditions during the Soil Moisture–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (SMACEX). The parallel resistance formulation does not consider interaction between the soil and canopy fluxes, whereas the series resistance algorithms provide interaction via the computation of a within-air canopy temperature. Land surface temperatures were derived from high-resolution Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM)/Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) scenes and aircraft imagery. These data, along with tower-based meteorological data, provided inputs for the two-source energy balance model. Comparison of the local model output with tower-based flux observations indicated that both the parallel and series resistance formulations produced basically similar estimates with root-mean-square difference (RMSD) values ranging from approximately 20 to 50 W m−2 for net radiation and latent heat fluxes, respectively. The largest relative difference in percentage [mean absolute percent difference (MAPD)] was for sensible heat flux, which was ≈35%, followed by a MAPD ≈ 25% for soil heat flux, ≈10% for latent heat flux, and a MAPD < 5% for net radiation. Although both series and parallel versions gave similar results, the parallel resistance formulation was found to be more sensitive to model parameter specification, particularly in accounting for the effects of vegetation clumping resulting from row crop planting on flux partitioning. A sensitivity and model stability analysis for a key model input variable, that is, fractional vegetation cover, also show that the parallel resistance network is more sensitive to the errors vegetation cover estimates. Furthermore, it is shown that for a much narrower range in vegetation cover fraction, compared to the series resistance network, the parallel resistance scheme is able to achieve a balance in both the radiative temperature and convective heat fluxes between the soil and canopy components. This result appears to be related to the moderating effects of the air temperature in the canopy air space computed in the series resistance scheme, which represents the effective source height for turbulent energy exchange across the soil–canopy–atmosphere system.

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Rolf H. Reichle, Gabrielle J. M. De Lannoy, Qing Liu, Joseph V. Ardizzone, Andreas Colliander, Austin Conaty, Wade Crow, Thomas J. Jackson, Lucas A. Jones, John S. Kimball, Randal D. Koster, Sarith P. Mahanama, Edmond B. Smith, Aaron Berg, Simone Bircher, David Bosch, Todd G. Caldwell, Michael Cosh, Ángel González-Zamora, Chandra D. Holifield Collins, Karsten H. Jensen, Stan Livingston, Ernesto Lopez-Baeza, José Martínez-Fernández, Heather McNairn, Mahta Moghaddam, Anna Pacheco, Thierry Pellarin, John Prueger, Tracy Rowlandson, Mark Seyfried, Patrick Starks, Zhongbo Su, Marc Thibeault, Rogier van der Velde, Jeffrey Walker, Xiaoling Wu, and Yijian Zeng

Abstract

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission Level-4 Surface and Root-Zone Soil Moisture (L4_SM) data product is generated by assimilating SMAP L-band brightness temperature observations into the NASA Catchment land surface model. The L4_SM product is available from 31 March 2015 to present (within 3 days from real time) and provides 3-hourly, global, 9-km resolution estimates of surface (0–5 cm) and root-zone (0–100 cm) soil moisture and land surface conditions. This study presents an overview of the L4_SM algorithm, validation approach, and product assessment versus in situ measurements. Core validation sites provide spatially averaged surface (root zone) soil moisture measurements for 43 (17) “reference pixels” at 9- and 36-km gridcell scales located in 17 (7) distinct watersheds. Sparse networks provide point-scale measurements of surface (root zone) soil moisture at 406 (311) locations. Core validation site results indicate that the L4_SM product meets its soil moisture accuracy requirement, specified as an unbiased RMSE (ubRMSE, or standard deviation of the error) of 0.04 m3 m−3 or better. The ubRMSE for L4_SM surface (root zone) soil moisture is 0.038 m3 m−3 (0.030 m3 m−3) at the 9-km scale and 0.035 m3 m−3 (0.026 m3 m−3) at the 36-km scale. The L4_SM estimates improve (significantly at the 5% level for surface soil moisture) over model-only estimates, which do not benefit from the assimilation of SMAP brightness temperature observations and have a 9-km surface (root zone) ubRMSE of 0.042 m3 m−3 (0.032 m3 m−3). Time series correlations exhibit similar relative performance. The sparse network results corroborate these findings over a greater variety of climate and land cover conditions.

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