NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission Applications in the Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 11:00 AM
B313 (GWCC)
Dara Entekhabi, MIT, Cambridge, MA; and E. Njoku and P. O’Neill

Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) Mission is one of the first satellites being developed by NASA in response to the National Research Council's Decadal Survey. SMAP will make global measurements of the surface soil moisture and it will distinguish frozen from thawed land surfaces. Direct observations of soil moisture and freeze/thaw state from space have applications in both basic research and operational activities in the weather, climate and hydrology domains. The freeze/thaw classification is important to reducing the uncertainty of net ecosystem exchange of carbon in boreal latitudes.

The SMAP mission concept would utilize L-band radar and radiometry. These instruments will share a rotating 6-meter mesh antenna to provide high-resolution and high-accuracy global maps of soil moisture and freeze/thaw state every two to three days. Soil moisture products at 3, 10 and 40 km resolutions will be derived. The mission data products suite additionally include data assimilation results for root-zone soil moisture and net ecosystem exchange of carbon.

In this presentation we will outline the traceability of SMAP measurement approach and mission requirements. We begin with the major science-drivers and show how the science requirements were defined. Finally the anticipated impact of the mission data products is shown through a series of existing numerical model experiments.