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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-36
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-36
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 02 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 02 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Assimilation of vegetation optical depth retrievals from passive microwave radiometry

Sujay V. Kumar1, Thomas R. Holmes1, Rajat Bindlish1, Richard de Jeu2, and Christa Peters-Lidard3 Sujay V. Kumar et al.
  • 1Hydrological Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 2Vandersat
  • 3Hydrosphere, Biosphere, and Geophysics, Earth Sciences Division at NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD

Abstract. Vegetation optical depth (VOD) retrievals from passive microwave sensors provide estimates of above-ground canopy biomass. This study presents the development and analysis of assimilating VOD retrievals from X-, C-, and L-band passive microwave instruments within the Noah-MP land surface model, over the Continental U.S. The results from this study demonstrate that the assimilation of VOD retrievals have a significant beneficial impact on the simulation of evapotranspiration and GPP, particularly over the agricultural areas of the U.S. The improvements in the water and carbon fluxes from the assimilation of VOD from X- and C-band sensors are found to be comparable to those obtained from the assimilation of vegetation indices from optical sensors. The study also quantifies the relative and joint impact of assimilating surface soil moisture and VOD from SMAP. The utility of soil moisture assimilation for improving ET is more significant over water limited regions, whereas VOD DA is more impactful over energy limited domains. The results also indicate that the independent information on moisture and vegetation states from SMAP can be simultaneously exploited through the joint assimilation of surface soil moisture and VOD. Since the passive microwave-based VOD retrievals are available in nearly all weather conditions, their use within data assimilation systems offers the ability to extend and improve the utility obtained from the use of optical/infrared based vegetation retrievals.

Sujay V. Kumar et al.

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Sujay V. Kumar et al.

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Short summary
Vegetation optical depth (VOD) is a byproduct of the soil moisture retrieval from passive microwave instruments. This study demonstrates that VOD information can be utilized for improving land surface water budget and carbon conditions through data assimilation.
Vegetation optical depth (VOD) is a byproduct of the soil moisture retrieval from passive...
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