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Assessment of assimilating SMOS soil moisture information into a distributed hydrologic model

  • Author(s): Thorstensen, A
  • Nguyen, P
  • Hsu, K
  • Sorooshian, S
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license
Abstract

The role that soil moisture plays in terms of modulating hydrologic processes including infiltration and runoff generation makes it an essential component to capture for hydrologic modeling. This work aims to leverage information gained from SMOS to improve surface soil moisture simulations in the Russian River Basin (California, U.S.A). The basin's complex terrain offers a rigorous testing ground for SMOS soil moisture products. Data from seven in situ observation sites are used to assess model performance after assimilating SMOS-based soil saturation ratios. For a comparison of "best case" scenarios, the in situ observations themselves are assimilated. Results show that SMOS assimilated simulations shows modest improvement at most in situ locations. Despite the observed decrease in model performance at some locations, overall performance of simulations assimilated with SMOS-based saturation ratios remains high. Findings suggest that even in a complex environment, useful information may be extracted from SMOS estimates for hydrologic modeling.

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