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

  • Autori: Maltese, A.; Cammalleri, C.; Capodici, F.; Ciraolo, G.; LA LOGGIA, G.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2010
  • Tipologia: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • Parole Chiave: soil moisture, airborne remote sensing, triangle method
  • OA Link:


Soil humidity plays a key-role in hydrological and agricultural processes. In the rainfall-runoff processes the knowledge of its spatial distribution is fundamental to accurately model these phenomena. Furthermore in agronomy and agricultural sciences, assessing the water content of the root zone is required in order to optimize the plant productivity and to improve the irrigation systems management. Despite the importance of this variable the in situ measurements techniques based on Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) or on the standard thermo-gravimetric methods, are neither cost-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 by surface and root zone humidity in bare and vegetated soils respectively. The effects of pre-processing techniques correcting for altimetry and seasonality are analyzed by means of shortwave and longwave airborne images acquired on a vineyard during a whole phenological period. The paper also discusses the advantages induced by replacing the absolute 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 as reference values. The validation with in situ data also highlights that a higher spatial resolution not necessarily imply a higher accuracy.