Publications in Scientific Journals:

S. Azimi, A. Dariane, S. Modanesi, B. Bauer-Marschallinger, R. Bindlish, W. Wagner, C. Massari:
"Assimilation of Sentinel 1 and SMAP - based satellite soil moisture retrievals into SWAT hydrological model: the impact of satellite revisit time and product spatial resolution on flood simulations in small basins";
Journal of Hydrology, 581 (2020), 124367; 1 - 16.

English abstract:
In runoff generation process, soil moisture plays an important role as it controls the magnitude of the flood events in response to the rainfall inputs. In this study, we investigated the ability of a new era of satellite soil moisture retrievals to improve the Soil & Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) daily discharge simulations via soil moisture data assimilation for two small (<500 km2) and hydrologically different catchments located in Central Italy. We ingested 1) the Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) Enhanced L3 Radiometer Global Daily 9 km EASE-Grid soil moisture, 2) the Advanced SCATterometer (ASCAT) H113 soil moisture product released within the EUMETSAT Satellite Application Facility on Support to Operational Hydrology and Water Management (H-SAF) which has a nearly daily temporal resolution and sampling of 12.5 km, and 3) a fused ASCAT/Sentinel-1 (S1) satellite soil moisture product named SCATSAR-SWI with temporal and spatial sampling of 1 day and 1 km, respectively into SWAT hydrological model via the Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF).

Different configurations were tested with the aim of exploring the effect of the hydrological regime, the land use conditions, the spatial sampling and the revisit time of the products (which controls the amount of available data to be potentially ingested).

Results show a general improvement of SWAT discharge simulations for all products in terms of error and Nash Sutcliffe efficiency index. In particular, we found a relatively good behavior of both the active and the passive products in terms of low flows improvement especially for the catchment characterized by a higher baseflow component. The benefit of the higher spatial resolution of SCATSAR-SWI obtained via S1 over ASCAT was small, likely due to very challenging areas for the S1 retrieval. Eventually, better performances were obtained for the passive product in the more forested catchment.

With the aim of exploring the benefit of having more frequent satellite soil moisture observations to be ingested, we tested the performance of the ASCAT product with a reduced temporal sampling obtained by temporally matching ASCAT observations to that of SMAP. The results show a significant reduction of the performance of ASCAT, suggesting that the correction frequency (due to the higher number of observations available) for small catchments is an important aspect for improving flood forecasting as it helps to adjust more frequently the pre-storm soil moisture conditions.

Data assimilation SWAT EnKF, small basins Satellite soil moisture

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

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