Environmental Geology

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 339–349

Geostatistical analysis of soil moisture measurements and remotely sensed data at different spatial scales

Original Article


The European remote sensing satellite (ERS-2) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data was used for temporal monitoring of soil moisture at Sukhothai, Thailand. Higher correlations were found between the observed soil moisture and the radar backscattering coefficient. The soil moisture distribution shows great variation in space and time due to its stochastic nature. In order to obtain a better understanding of the nature and causes of spatial variation of soil moisture, the extensive soil moisture measurements observed in Thailand and also remotely sensed ERS-2 SAR data were used for geostatistical analysis. The observed soil moisture shows seasonal variations with mean varying from 3.33 %v/v (dry season) to 33.44 %v/v (wet season). The spatial geostatistical structure also shows clear seasonal variations in the geostatistical characteristics such as range and sill. The sills vary from 1.00 (%v/v)2 for the driest day to 107.57 (%v/v)2 for one of the wet days. The range or the correlation lengths varies between 46.5 and 149.8 m for the wettest and driest periods. The nugget effect does not show strong seasonal pattern or trend but the dry periods usually have a smaller nugget effect than the wet periods. The spherical variogram model fits the sample variograms very well in the case of soil moisture observations while the exponential model fits those of the remotely sensed data. The ranges observed from the observed soil moisture data and remotely sensed data at the same resolution are very similar. Resolution degradation affects the geostatistical structure of the data by reducing the sills, and increasing the ranges.


Backscattering coefficient Geostatistics Spatial resolution Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) Thailand 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASDA Earth Observation Research CenterTokyo Japan

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