THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
CEOS EO HANDBOOK – MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS
Measurements > Land >
Soil moisture >
Soil moisture at the surface


Measurement Definition*: Fractional content of water in a volume of wet soil. Surface layer (upper few centimetres) - Physical unit: [ m3/m3 ] - Accuracy unit: [m3/m3 ].

Thematic Links
InstrumentStatus/
Accuracy
Instrument DescriptionMeasurement TechnologyTimeline
AMSR2
Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer -2
Operational
+/-4 %
Measurements of water vapour, cloud liquid water, precipitation, winds, sea surface temperature, sea ice concentration, snow cover, soil moisture.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
AMSU-A
Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A
Operational
All-weather night-day temperature sounding to an altitude of 45 km.n/a
AMSU-A
Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A
Operational
All-weather night-day temperature sounding to an altitude of 45 km. AMSU-A on Aqua is still partially operational, with 9 of the 15 channels working and collecting data.n/a
ASCAT
Advanced Scatterometer
Operational
Measures wind speed and direction over ocean, soil moisture, sea ice cover, sea ice type, snow cover and snow parameters and vegetation parametersRadar scatterometer
C-Band SAR
C-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
Operational
Marine core services, land monitoring and emergency services. Monitoring sea ice zones and arctic environment. Surveillance of marine environment, monitoring land surface motion risks, mapping of land surfaces (forest, water and soil, agriculture), mapping in support of humanitarian aid in crisis situations.Imaging radar (SAR)
CSG SAR
COSMO-SkyMed di Seconda Generazione SAR
Operational
All-weather images of ocean, land and ice for monitoring of land surface processes, ice, environmental monitoring, risk management, environmental resources, maritime management, Earth topographic mapping.Imaging radar (SAR)
GMI
GPM Microwave Imager
Operational
Measures rainfall rates over oceans and land, combined rainfall structure and surface rainfall rates with associated latent heating. Used to produce three hour, daily, and monthly total rainfall maps over oceans and land.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
HyperScout-2
Hyperspectral VNIR and multispectral TIR imager
Operational
Demonstration of hyperspectral and thermal imaging on a 6U Cubesat. Demonstration of Artificial Intelligence accelerator. Cloud screening in-orbit will be the first AI application. Other applications are: high resolution by data fusion between hyperspectral and thermal; evapotranspiration and agriculture applications; thermal inertia and soil moisture; Urban Heat Island; assisting search and rescue for pyroclastic flow/surge deposits; oil spills; fire monitoring, underground fires; and, water quality.n/a
L-band Radiometer (SMAP)
L-band Radiometer (SMAP)
Operational
High-accuracy measurements of brightness temperatures for global estimates of surface soil moisture for climate modeling and weather predictionMulti-purpose imaging MW radiometer
MIRAS (SMOS)
Microwave Imaging Radiometer using Aperture Synthesis (MIRAS)
Operational
Objective is to demonstrate observations of sea surface salinity and soil moisture in support of climate, meteorology, hydrology, and oceanography applications.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
MWRI
Micro-Wave Radiation Imager
Operational
All weather observations of precipitation, cloud features, vegetation, soil moisture sea ice, etc.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
PALSAR-2
Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar-2
Operational
Disaster monitoring, land monitoring, agricultural monitoring, natural resource exploration, global forest monitoring, potential use and interferometry.Imaging radar (SAR)
SAR (RADARSAT-2)
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) C band
Operational
All-weather images of ocean, ice and land surfaces. Used for monitoring of coastal zones, polar ice, sea ice, sea state, geological features, vegetation and land surface processes.Imaging radar (SAR)
SAR (RISAT)
Synthetic Aperature Radiometer (RISAT)
Operational
Radar backscatter measurements of land, water and ocean surfaces for applications in soil moisture, crop applications (under cloud cover), terrain mapping, etc.Imaging radar (SAR)
SAR-L
L-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
Operational
Land, ocean, emergencies, soil moisture, interferometry, others.Imaging radar (SAR)
SAR-X
Synthetic Aperature Radiometer (RISAT-2)
Operational
For disaster management applications.Imaging radar (SAR)
SGR-ReSI-Z
Space GNSS Receiver - Remote Sensing Instrument - Z
Operational
Ocean winds, waves, soil moisture, flooding, ice, snown/a
SSM/I
Special Sensor Microwave Imager
Operational
Measures atmospheric, ocean and terrain microwave brightness temperatures to provide: sea surface winds, rain rates, cloud water, precipitation, soil moisture, ice edge, ice age.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
SSM/IS
Special Sensor Microwave Imager Sounder
Operational
Measures thermal microwave radiation. Global measurements of air temp profile, humidity profile, ocean surface winds, rain overland/ocean, ice concentration/age, ice/snow edge, water vapour/clouds over ocean, snow water content, land surface temperature.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
VIIRS
Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite
Operational
Global observations of land, ocean, and atmosphere parameters: cloud/weather imagery, sea-surface temperature, ocean colour, land surface vegetation indices.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
AMSR3
Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer -3
Being developed
Measurements of water vapour, cloud liquid water, precipitation including snowfall, winds, sea surface temperature, sea ice concentration, snow cover, soil moisture.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
PALSAR-3
Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar-3
Being developed
Disaster monitoring, land monitoring, agricultural monitoring, natural resource exploration, global forest monitoring, potential use and interferometry.Imaging radar (SAR)
SCA
SCA
Being developed
Measures wind speed and direction over ocean, soil moisture, sea ice cover, sea ice type, snow cover and snow parameters and vegetation parametersRadar scatterometer
MVIRS
Moderate Resolution Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectroradiometer
Approved
Measures surface temperature and cloud and ice cover. Used for snow and flood monitoring and surface temperature.Multi-purpose imaging Vis/IR radiometer
S-band SAR (NISAR)
S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) (NISAR)
Approved
3-year mission to study solid earth deformation (earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides), changes in ice (glaciers, sea ice) and changes in vegetation biomassImaging radar (SAR)
GNSS Reflectometer (HydroGNSS)
GNSS Reflectometer
Proposed
 n/a
AMSR-E
Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS
No longer operational
Measurements of water vapour, cloud liquid water, precipitation, winds, sea surface temperature, sea ice concentration, snow cover and soil moisture. Instrument stopped functioning 4th October 2011.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
L-band Radar (SMAP)
L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SMAP)
No longer operational
High-resolution measurements of radar backscatter for global estimates of surface soil moisture and freeze/thaw states for climate modeling and weather prediction. The radar instrument stopped transmitting on 7 July 2015.Imaging radar (SAR)
* Description adapted from WMO.
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