In this paper, we investigate to which degree information concerning the spatial patterns of remotely sensed soil moisture data are needed in order to improve discharge predictions from hydrological models. For this purpose, we use the TOPMODEL-based Land-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (TOPLATS). The remotely sensed soil moisture values are determined using C-band backscatter data from the European Space Agency (ESA) European Remote Sensing (ERS) Satellites. A baseline run, without soil moisture assimilation, is established for both the distributed and lumped versions of the land-atmosphere scheme. The modeled discharge matches the observations slightly better for the distributed model than for the lumped model. The remotely sensed soil moisture data are assimilated into the distributed version of the model through the 'nudging to individual observations' method, and the 'statistical correction assimilation' method. The remotely sensed soil moisture data are also assimilated into the lumped version of the model through the 'statistical correction assimilation' method. The statistical correction assimilation method leads to similar, and improved, discharge predictions for both the distributed and lumped models. The nudging to individual observations method leads, for the distributed model, to only slightly better results than the statistical correction assimilation method. As a consequence, it is suggested that it is sufficient to assimilate the statistics (spatial mean and variance) of remotely sensed soil moisture data into lumped hydrological models when one wants to improve hydrological model-based discharge predictions.
- Data assimilation
- Soil moisture