We are pleased to release the latest version of the cloud-free BEC L4 soil moisture at 1 km over Europe. The L4 soil moisture v4 maps are produced from the synergy of:
- SMOS L1C brightness temperature,
- European Center for Medium Weather Forecast (ECMWF) land surface temperature (LST),
- Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).
The downscaling technique uses the BEC L3 soil moisture v3 as benchmark.
A detailed explanation of the downscaling algorithm and the resulting product is included in BEC Land Products Description
On January 31st, NASA successfully launched the SMAP satellite onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. The satellite, designed to collect high resolution soil moisture maps on a global scale every two to three days, will improve the ability to forecast droughts, forest fires and floods, and will help in crop planning and rotation. On February 24th the reflector antenna was successfully deployed and in the following days the first radiometric data have been acquired.
Image: NASA, United Launch Alliance
In order to obtain detailed soil moisture measurements of the entire world, SMAP is placed in a near-polar sun-synchronous orbit, allowing the observatory to use Earth’s natural spin to maximize the area that can be scanned by the satellite’s instruments. The orbiter will use its L-band radar and L-band radiometer to scan the top 2 inches (5 cm) of our planet’s soil with a resolution of around 31 miles (50 km).