Soil Moisture Retrievals Over Partially Forested Areas in Aurajoki Catchment, Western Finland

Jaakko Seppänen*, Juho Jakkila, Jaan Praks, Martti T. Hallikainen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Coarse ground resolution limits the accuracy of current passive L-band satellite missions for soil moisture retrieval such as soil moisture and ocean salinity and soil moisture active and passive, as many of their pixels contain different land cover types. One of the significant uncertainty factors is introduced by dense vegetation, especially in areas where land cover varies between forest and open areas, which is often the case in inhabited areas in the Boreal zone. In this paper, we study the soil moisture retrieval with the help of fine resolution L-band airborne radiometer in case of heterogeneous pixels in the boreal forest region, and attempt to quantify and isolate the influence of the different terrain types. The work is based on a series of airborne radiometer measurements with the HUT-2D interferometric radiometer in Finland. Radiometer-derived soil moisture values are compared with soil moisture estimates given by watershed simulation and forecasting system model, which is validated and refined by using in-situ measurements so that its accuracy is augmented. Our results suggest that it is possible to retrieve soil moisture in agricultural areas in a heterogeneous pixel with substantial (30 %) forest cover achieving accuracy of 0.032 m3/m3 and that L-band radiometry may be useful in research of hydrological processes in wetlands.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7781644
Pages (from-to)3162-3171
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • microwave radiometry
  • Soil moisture
  • vegetation


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