Surface soil moisture estimation in bare agricultural soil using modified Dubois model for Sentinel-1 C-band SAR data


  • ABISHEK MURUGESAN B. A. College of Agriculture, Anand Agricultural University, Anand, Gujarat, India
  • RUCHA DAVE B. A. College of Agriculture, Anand Agricultural University, Anand, Gujarat, India
  • AMIT KUSHWAHA Environmental Sciences and Sustainable Engineering Centre, Indian Institute of Technology Palakkad, Kerala, India
  • DHARMENDRA KUMAR PANDEY Space Applications Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
  • KOUSHIK SAHA Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Dharwad, Dharwad, Karnataka, India



Modified Dubois Model, Surface Soil Moisture, Sentinel-1, Semi-empirical Model, Surface roughness , radar backscatter


Surface soil moisture has vital role in water energy balance, climate change and agriculture mainly for crop water requirements and irrigation scheduling. Microwave remote sensing with its unique characteristics of high penetration and sensitivity towards dielectric constant, has enabled the researchers to explore various techniques for soil moisture estimation. With the launch of Sentinel-1 (A&B) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites, the hindrance in accessing high spatial and temporal resolution data is eliminated. The current study focuses on surface soil moisture estimation for bare agricultural fields in the semi-arid region. Field soil moisture up to 5 cm depth using HydraGo Probe sensor and surface roughness synchronizing with satellite pass dates were collected from total 102 locations spanning four dates. Volumetric and sensor-based soil moisture are well correlated with R2 = 0.85. The Modified Dubois Model (MDM) was applied to obtain the relative permittivity of the soil for the backscattering coefficient (σ◦) for VV polarization, which is used as one of the inputs in universal Topp’s model for soil moisture calculation. Model derived soil moisture is well correlated with ground-based soil moisture for the entire range of the soil moisture (0.02-0.18 m3m-3) with R2 = 0.85 and RMSE=0.005. The entire soil moisture was categorized in three soil moisture ranges to evaluate the sensitivity. The highest correlation was observed for 0.06-0.1 m3m-3 with R2 = 0.73 and RMSE=0.003 followed by 0.015-0.6 m3m-3 with R2 = 0.81 and RMSE=0.001 and 0.11-0.18 m3m-3 with R2 = 0.48 and RMSE=0.019 which is significantly low. Performance accuracy of MDM is encouraging for bare soil moisture estimation for even the lower range of surface soil moisture.


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How to Cite

MURUGESAN, A., DAVE, R., KUSHWAHA, A., PANDEY, D. K., & SAHA, K. (2023). Surface soil moisture estimation in bare agricultural soil using modified Dubois model for Sentinel-1 C-band SAR data. Journal of Agrometeorology, 25(4), 517–524.