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Adriaan J. Teuling, Remko Uijlenhoet, Bart van den Hurk, and Sonia I. Seneviratne

1. Introduction The dynamic role of the land surface in the climate system is nowadays widely recognized. Fluxes of latent heat from the land surface into the atmosphere transport large amounts of energy and water and limit direct heating of the lower atmosphere. Their magnitude, however, strongly depends on the soil moisture content of the soil. Model studies have shown that without soil moisture interacting freely with the atmosphere, warm season precipitation and temperature variability over

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Damian J. Barrett and Luigi J. Renzullo

partitioning of energy between the soil surface, vegetation canopy, and the atmosphere. In principle, these relationships can be exploited in data assimilation to provide information on profile soil moisture content ( Entekhabi et al. 1994 ; Huang et al. 2008 ), but it remains uncertain as to the range of conditions under which these relationships hold. Passive microwave observations are used to infer surface soil moisture content from space by exploiting the relationship between brightness temperature

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