Soil water infiltration observation with microwave radiometers

Thomas J. Jackson, Thomas J. Schmugge, Peggy E. O'Neill, Marc B. Parlange

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Experiments were conducted using truck-based microwave radiometers operating at 1.41- (L-band) and 2.65-GHz (S-band) horizontal polarization to observe small plots during and following sprinkler irrigation. These experiments were conducted on a sandy loam soil in 1993 and a silt loam in 1995. Sandy loam soils typically have higher infiltration capabilities than clays, and in the authors' studies, they were not able to exceed this with the irrigation system. The observed brightness temperature (T/sub B/) quickly reached a nominally constant value during irrigation. When the irrigation was stopped, the T/sub B/ began to increase as drainage took place. Contributing depth-related differences were observed for L- and S-band as expected. The irrigation rates in 1995 with the silt loam soil exceeded the saturated conductivity of the soil. During irrigation, the T/sub B/ values exhibited a phenomenon that had not been previously observed and identified and is associated with coherent interference. The Land S-band exhibited similar patterns but were not identical due to contributing depth. These results suggested the existence of a sharp dielectric boundary (wet over dry soil) that was increasing in depth with time. The temporal description of the wetting front boundary was used with a coherent radiative transfer model to predict T/sub B/ for L- and S-band.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1376-1383
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes

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