Zhao TJ, Zhang LX, Jiang LM, Zhao SJ, Chai LN, Jin R. A new soil freeze thaw discriminant algorithm using AMSR-E passive microwave imagery. Hydrological Processes, 2011, 25(11): 1704-1716. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7930.

Literature information
Title A new soil freeze/thaw discriminant algorithm using AMSR-E passive microwave imagery
Year 2011

Hydrological Processes


The soil freeze–thaw controls the hydrological and carbon cycling and thus affects water and energy exchanges at land surface. This article reported a newly developed algorithm for distinguishing the freeze/thaw status of surface soil. The algorithm was based on information from Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer Enhanced (AMSR-E) which records brightness temperature (Tb) in the afternoon and after midnight. The criteria and discriminant functions were obtained from both radiometer observations and model simulations. First of all, the microwave radiation from freeze–thaw soil was examined by carrying out experimental measurements at 18·7 and 36·5 GHz using a Truck-mounted Multi-frequency Microwave Radiometer (TMMR) in the Heihe River of China. The experimental results showed that the soil moisture is a key component that differentiates the microwave radiation behaviours during the freeze–thaw process, and the differences in soil temperature and emissivity between frozen and thawed soils were found to be the most important criteria. Secondly, a combined model was developed to consider the impacts of complex ground surface conditions on the discrimination. The model simulations quite followed the trend of in situ observations with an overall relation coefficient (R) of approximately 0·88. Finally, the ratio of Tb18·7H (horizontally polarized Tb at 18·7 GHz) to Tb36·5V was considered primarily as the quasi-emissivity, which is more reasonable and explicit in measuring the microwave radiation changes in soil freezing and thawing than the spectral gradient. By combining Tb36·5V to indicate the soil temperature variety, a Fisher linear discrimination analysis was used to establish the discriminant functions. After being corrected by TMMR measurements, the new discriminant algorithm had an overall accuracy of 86% when validated by 4-cm soil temperature. The multi-year discriminant results also provided a good agreement with the classification map of frozen ground in China. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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