5B.3 Impact of Gauge-Based Precipitation Corrections on the Skill of SMAP Level-4 Soil Moisture Estimates

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 9:00 AM
253A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Rolf H. Reichle, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and Q. Liu, J. V. Ardizzone, W. T. Crow, G. J. M. De Lannoy, J. S. Kimball, J. Kolassa, and R. Koster

The NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission provides observations of L-band (1.4 GHz) passive microwave brightness temperature (Tb) observations at a resolution of ~40 km globally every 2-3 days. These observations are routinely assimilated into the NASA Catchment land surface model to generate the Level-4 Soil Moisture (L4_SM) product, which provides global estimates of surface (0-5 cm) and root-zone (0-100 cm) soil moisture, soil temperature, and surface fluxes (among others) at 9-km, 3-hourly resolution with ~2.5-day latency.

The Catchment land surface model in the L4_SM algorithm is driven with 0.25°, hourly surface meteorological forcing data from the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) “forward-processing” product. Outside of Africa and the high latitudes, the GEOS precipitation forcing is corrected using the Climate Prediction Center Unified (CPCU) gauge-based, 0.5°, daily precipitation product.

Soil moisture estimates from the L4_SM product were previously shown to improve over land model-only estimates that do not benefit from the assimilation of Tb observations, thereby demonstrating the value of assimilating SMAP observations for soil moisture estimation. In this presentation, we further isolate the contribution of the gauge-based precipitation corrections to the skill of the L4_SM soil moisture estimates. Specifically, we compare the skill of the L4_SM soil moisture to that of separate model-only and assimilation estimates obtained without the benefit of the gauge-based precipitation corrections.

Preliminary results suggest that the soil moisture skill added by the CPCU-based precipitation corrections primarily depends on the quality of the CPCU precipitation product and is greatest in regions where the CPCU gauge network is dense and reliable. Conversely, in regions where the CPCU product is known to be of poor quality, for example in central Australia, the assimilation of SMAP Tb observations provides the most benefit. This presentation provides an in-depth evaluation of the soil moisture skill of the model-only and assimilation estimates vs. independent in situ and satellite measurements.

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