Evaluation of ESACCI satellite soil moisture product using in-situ CTCZ observations over India


Recently available European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative (ESACCI) soil moisture dataset, derived by merging soil moisture values calculated using measurements from satellite-based active and passive sensors, is validated over the Indian region using in-situ observations from 117 Continental Tropical Convergence Zone (CTCZ) Programme stations spread across India. The dataset is compared for the monsoon season (June–September: JJAS) of two years – 2011–2012, over six regional domains which differ in soil characteristics and mean soil moisture values, thus taking the spatial heterogeneity into account. Evaluation shows that the mean JJAS ESACCI volumetric soil moisture is 25.5% (\(\hbox {m}^{3}\,\hbox {m}^{-3}\)), with an intra-seasonal standard deviation of 6%. The root mean squared difference (RMSD) between ESACCI soil moisture product and CTCZ observations is 10% over the Indian region. Over smaller homogeneous regions, the RMSD values between the two products are smaller than 5%, except over southern India and north-east India. Overall, the ESACCI soil moisture dataset is in good agreement with the CTCZ in-situ soil moisture observations, and has relatively higher accuracy over the plains of northern and central India, as compared to other regions. However, the ESACCI soil moisture dataset shows higher intra-seasonal variability at shorter time-scale of 2–4 days, as compared to the CTCZ observations, possibly due to the difference in the soil sampling depths between the two datasets.

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SA acknowledges the Grantham Fellowship received from Divecha Centre for Climate Change, IISc. AC acknowledges MoES for providing funding under the CTCZ and Monsoon Misson programs. Authors wish to thank Prof. J Srinivasan for his valuable suggestions. Authors are grateful to Prof. G S Bhat and Dr R Mali for providing useful information regarding CTCZ soil moisture data and sensors. Authors acknowledge the use of data from European Space Agency and the India Meteorological Department.

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Correspondence to Shubhi Agrawal.

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Communicated by N V Chalapathi Rao

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Agrawal, S., Chakraborty, A. Evaluation of ESACCI satellite soil moisture product using in-situ CTCZ observations over India. J Earth Syst Sci 129, 129 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-020-01384-2

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  • ESACCI soil moisture
  • CTCZ ground-based soil moisture
  • validation
  • Indian region