Improved soil moisture estimation: Synergistic use of satellite observations and land surface models over CONUS based on machine learning
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- Improved soil moisture estimation: Synergistic use of satellite observations and land surface models over CONUS based on machine learning
- Lee, Jaese; Park, Sumin; Im, Jungho; Yoo, Cheolhee; Seo, Eunkyo
- Issue Date
- JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY, v.609, pp.127749
- Three widely used primary soil moisture (SM) data sources, namely, in-situ measurements, satellite observations, and land surface models (LSM), possess different characteristics. This study combined three SM data sources using machine learning (ML): random forest, artificial neural networks, and support vector regression, and simple averaging ensemble approaches to produce improved daily SM data over the contiguous United States (CONUS). For each ML model, three schemes were tested using different independent variables, namely, satellite-derived, LSM-derived, and both. Triple collocation analysis (TCA) was adopted to address the scale mismatch problem between in-situ and coarse gridded SM data. The proposed approach was evaluated using the International Soil Moisture Network (ISMN), Soil Moisture Active Passive Core Validation Sites (SMAP CVS), and TCA. In the ISMN-based evaluation, the proposed ML-based ensemble generally produced better evaluation metrics and showed robust skills over topographically complex and densely vegetated regions where existing SM products showed poor skills. The SMAP CVS-based evaluation demonstrated that the ML ensemble approach yielded a better performance than the existing SM datasets, resulting in a correlation coefficient of 0.78, unbiased root mean squared difference of 0.035 m3/m3, and bias of 0.006 m3/m3. In addition, the TCA results additionally confirmed that the ML-based ensemble had better spatiotemporal quality than the other SM products. The data-driven approach proposed in this study has three major novelties: (1) the proposed ML-based method synergistically merges various data sources to improve SM; (2) the performance of the proposed ML-based SM was robust to topography and vegetation; and (3) the average ensemble of three ML models additionally improves performances. The SM time-series data generated by the proposed approach are expectedly suitable variables for environmental and climate applications over CONUS. The research findings suggest that ML algorithms can be effectively used for modeling dynamic soil moisture.
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