Soil Moisture Active Passive Experiment in Yanco
WRC researchers Dr Robert Parinussa and Seokhyeon Kim are currently participating in the Soil Moisture Active Passive Experiment (SMAPEx-4) in Yanco, south west NSW. The experiment is measuring soil moisture by using instruments mounted on aircraft as well as taking samples from the soils and vegetation on farms in the area. The aircraft and ground measurements are made at approximately the same time as the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite flies over the site. This satellite flies over every part of the world on average once each day. It is a new satellite and was only launched in January 2015 by NASA and is the first to combine active and passive microwave observations in the L-band (1.4 GHz) frequency. The ground and aircraft measurements from this experiment will be used to check and improve the estimates from the satellite.
Data from SMAP will help to improve weather forecasts, monitor droughts and floods as well as improving our understanding of water, energy and carbon cycles. The soil moisture data is available within one day from the measurement time which gives it great potential for real-time forecasting applications.
The field work campaign is being run by researchers from Monash University and includes participants from a number of universities and institutes across Australia, the United States and Europe. This is the fourth out of five field work campaigns to be held over a 6 year period at Yanco. Seokhyeon is a PhD student in the WRC researching how best to use soil moisture estimated by satellites for the purposes of flood forecasting in data sparse regions. Robert is a postdoctoral researcher working on the same ARC funded discovery project.