A Land Surface Process/Radiobrightness Model with Coupled Heat and Moisture Transport for Prairie Grassland

Yuei An Liou, John F. Galantowicz, Anthony W. England

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44 Scopus citations


We present a biophysically based, one-dimensional hydrology/radiobrightness (IdH/R) model for prairie grassland that is subject to solar heating, radiant heating and cooling, precipitation, and sensible and latent heat exchanges with the atmosphere. The IdH/R model consists of two modules, a onedimensional hydrology (IdH) module that estimates the temperature and moisture profiles of the soil and the canopy and a microwave emission module that predicts radiobrightness (R). We validate the IdH/R model by comparing its predictions with data from a field experiment. The model was forced by meteorological and sky radiance data from our Radiobrightness Energy Balance Experiment (REBEX-1) on prairie grassland near Sioux Falls, SD, during the fall and winter of 1992-1993. Model predictions were compared with 995 consecutive REBEX1 observations over a 14-day period in October. Average errors (predicted-measured) for canopy temperature are 1.1 K with a variance of 3.72 K2, for soil temperatures at 2-, 4-, 8-, 16-, 32-, and 64-cm depths are 2 K with a variance of 4 K2, and for Hpolarized brightnesses are 0.06 K with a variance of 1.30 K2 at 19 GHz and 6.01 K with a variance of 6.04 K2 at 37 GHz. The model overestimates the 37-GHz brightness because we have not included scatter darkening within the vegetation canopy in the model. We use the IdH/R model to simulate a 60-day dry-down of prairie grassland in summer. For grass with a column density of 3.7 kg/m2 and soil with an initially uniform moisture content of 38% by volume, the upper 5 mm of soil dries to 27% by the end of the simulation. The corresponding L-band brightness increases from an initial 143 K to a final 163 K. In contrast, none of the special sensor microwave/imager (SSM/I) radiobrightnesses nor the radiobrightness thermal inertia (RTI) technique, either at Lband or at any SSM/I frequency, exhibits significant sensitivity to the soil dry-down.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1848-1859
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1999


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