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Sujay V. Kumar, Kenneth W. Harrison, Christa D. Peters-Lidard, Joseph A. Santanello Jr., and Dalia Kirschbaum

1. Introduction The need for accurate estimates of soil moisture conditions is well established, as it is important for a variety of science and applications. Soil moisture influences the partitioning of heat and moisture at the land–atmosphere interface ( Cohen and Entekhabi 1999 ; Koster et al. 2004 ; Seneviratne et al. 2006 ) and in the redistribution of rainfall into infiltration and runoff. Root-zone soil moisture has been shown to influence subseasonal prediction of precipitation

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C. Albergel, W. Dorigo, R. H. Reichle, G. Balsamo, P. de Rosnay, J. Muñoz-Sabater, L. Isaksen, R. de Jeu, and W. Wagner

-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA; Rienecker et al. 2011 ) provide global reanalyses for the past three decades (from 1979 onward) at high spatial resolution (spatial resolution of about 80 km for ERA-Interim, ½° and ⅔° spatial resolution in latitude and longitude for MERRA) and with modern data assimilation and modeling systems. Reanalyses of past land–atmosphere conditions constitute a major numerical modeling and data assimilation undertaking. Such atmospheric reanalyses can be

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