Surface soil humidity retrieval using remote sensing techniques: a triangle method validation

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Soil humidity plays a key-role in hydrological and agricultural processes. In the rainfall-runoff processes the knowledgeof its spatial distribution is fundamental to accurately model these phenomena. Furthermore in agronomy andagricultural sciences, assessing the water content of the root zone is required in order to optimize the plant productivityand to improve the irrigation systems management. Despite the importance of this variable the in situ measurementstechniques based on Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) or on the standard thermo-gravimetric methods, are neithercost-effective nor representative of its spatial and temporal variability. Indirect estimations via Earth Observation (EO)images include the triangle method, which shows that Land Surface Temperature (LST) is prevalently controlled bysurface and root zone humidity in bare and vegetated soils respectively. The effects of pre-processing techniquescorrecting for altimetry and seasonality are analyzed by means of shortwave and longwave airborne images acquired ona vineyard during a whole phenological period. The paper also discusses the advantages induced by replacing theabsolute temperatures with relative values, that were obtained subtracting the temperatures measured by micro-meteorological station or the surface temperature of high thermal inertia surfaces (as small irrigation reservoir) chosen asreference values. The validation with in situ data also highlights that a higher spatial resolution not necessarily imply ahigher accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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