How do Spatial Scale, Noise, and Reference Data affect Empirical Estimates of Error in ASAR Derived 1 km Resolution Soil Moisture?




Doubkova, Marcela
Dostalova, Alena
Van Dijk, Albert
Bloschl, Gunter
Wagner, Wolfgang
Fernandez Prieto, D.

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The performance of the advanced synthetic aperture radar (ASAR) global mode (GM) surface soil moisture (SSM) data was studied over Australia by means of two widely used bivariate measures, the root-mean-square error (RMSE) and the Pearson correlation coefficient (R). By computing RMSE and R at multiple spatial scales and for different data combinations, we assessed how, and at which scales, the spatial sampling error, noise, and the choice of the reference data impact on RMSE and R. The results reveal large changes in RMSE and R with continental average values of 8% and 18% for the RMSE of relative soil moisture saturation and between 0.4 and 0.7 for R depending on the spatial scale of aggregation and the choice of reference data. The combined effect of noise and spatial sampling error accounted for a 79% RMSE increase at 1 km and predominated over the error due to the choise of the reference data also at 5 km scale. The effect of noise on RMSE strongly diminished at spatial scales ≥ km. By contrast, the impact of uncertainties in the reference data was larger on than on RMSE. This highlights the better potential of to estimate the benefit of observations prior to data assimilation. Based on our results, it is further suggested that a potential way for an improved ASAR GM SSM error assessment is to: 1) aggregate the data to ≥ km resolution to minimize the noise; 2) subtract the spatial sampling error within the coarse resolution footprint; and 3) remove the reference uncertainty using advanced techniques such as triple collocation.





IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing


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