Assessment of NASA SMAP soil moisture products for agricultural regions in Central Mexico: An analysis based on the THEXMEX dataset

Alejandro Monsivais-Huertero, Daniel Enrique Constantino-Recillas, Juan Carlos Hernandez-Sanchez, Hector Ernesto Huerta-Batiz, Jasmeet Judge, Pedro Alejandro Lopez-Estrada, Jose Carlos Jimenez-Escalona, Eduardo Arizmendi-Vasconcelos, Marco Antonio Garcia-Bernal, Cira Francisca Zambrano-Gallardo, Alejandra A. Lopez-Caloca, Enrique Zempoaltecatl-Ramirez, Ivan Edmundo De la Rosa Montero, Roberto Ivan Villalobos-Martinez, Ramon Sidonio Aparicio-Garcia, Carlos Rodolfo Sanchez-Villanueva, Leonardo Arizmendi-Vasconcelos, Roberto Cotero-Manzo, Jaime Hugo Puebla-Lomas, Victor Manuel Sauce-Rangel

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Accurate knowledge of soil moisture (SM) is crucial in hydrological, micrometeorological, and agricultural applications; however, the SM estimation is particularly challenging in agricultural regions due to high spatial variability and dynamic vegetation conditions. The need of information about SM conditions is even more evident for developing countries with limited monitoring infrastructure. Satellite SM products are a useful tool as proxy of SM conditions on the ground, but they need to be evaluated for specific regions. In this study, we assess the quality of the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) SM retrievals at 36, 9, and 3 kms in an agricultural region in Central Mexico using in situ measurements during the Terrestrial Hydrology Experiments in Mexico 2018 and 2019 (THEXMEX-18 and -19). In addition, we provide insights into soil and vegetation parameters in the retrieval algorithms compared to the those observed in the region. It was found that the SM spatial variability at the SMAP pixel grids were well represented by upscaled in situ SM measurements (SM_{up}) from 5 monitoring stations using the soil-weighted averaging and the Voronoi diagrams. Overall, the SMAP SM retrievals are highly correlated to SM_{up} at all scales, but they estimated wetter conditions and the average RMSD > 0.045 m^3/m^3. The lowest RMSD was obtained for the SM product at 36 km, while the highest RMSD was found for the SM product at 3 km. In addition, the Single Channel Algorithm using H-polarization (SCA-H) provided the lowest RMSD for the products at 36 and 9km.


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