Publications in Scientific Journals:

M. Hirschi, B. Mueller, W. Dorigo, S. Seneviratne:
"Using remotely sensed soil moisture for land-atmosphere coupling diagnostics: The role of surface vs. root-zone soil moisture variability";
Remote Sensing of Environment, 154 (2014), 246 - 252.

English abstract:
Hot extremes have been shown to be induced by antecedent surface moisture deficits in several regions. While most previous studies on this topic relied on modeling results or precipitation-based surface moisture information (particularly the standardized precipitation index, SPI), we use here a new merged remote sensing soil moisture product that combines active and passive microwave sensors to investigate the relation between the number of hot days (NHD) and preceding soil moisture deficits. Along with analyses of temporal variabilities of surface vs. root-zone soil moisture, this sheds light on the role of different soil depths for soil moisture-temperature coupling.

The global patterns of soil moisture-NHD correlations from remote sensing data and from SPI as used in previous studies are comparable. Nonetheless, the strength of the relationship appears underestimated with remote sensing-based soil moisture compared to SPI-based estimates, particularly in regions of strong soil moisture-temperature coupling. This is mainly due to the fact that the temporal hydrological variability is less pronounced in the remote sensing data than in the SPI estimates in these regions, and large dry/wet anomalies appear underestimated. Comparing temporal variabilities of surface and root-zone soil moisture in in-situ observations reveals a drop of surface-layer variability below that of root-zone when dry conditions are considered. This feature is a plausible explanation for the observed weaker relationship of remote sensing-based soil moisture (representing the surface layer) with NHD as it leads to a gradual decoupling of the surface layer from temperature under dry conditions, while root-zone soil moisture sustains more of its temporal variability.

Land-atmosphere interactions; Surface/root-zone soil moisture; Active/passive microwave remote sensing; Temperature; Standardized precipitation index

"Official" electronic version of the publication (accessed through its Digital Object Identifier - DOI)

Electronic version of the publication:

Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.