Sampling of soil moisture fields and related errors: Implications to the optimal sampling design

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Adequate knowledge of soil moisture storage as well as evaporation and transpiration at the land surface is essential to the understanding and prediction of the reciprocal influences between land surface processes and weather and climate. Traditional techniques for soil moisture measurements are ground-based, but space-based sampling is becoming available due to recent improvement of remote sensing techniques. A fundamental question regarding the soil moisture observation is to estimate the sampling error for a given sampling scheme [G.R. North, S. Nakamoto, J Atmos. Ocean Tech. 6 (1989) 985-992; G. Kim, J.B. Valdes, G.R. North, C. Yoo, J. Hydrol., submitted]. In this study we provide the formalism for estimating the sampling errors for the cases of ground-based sensors and space-based sensors used both separately and together. For the study a model for soil moisture dynamics by D. Entekhabi, I. Rodriquez-Iturbe [Adv. Water Res. 17 (1994) 35-45] is introduced and an example application is given to the Little Washita basin using the Washita '92 soil moisture data. As a result of the study we found that the ground-based sensor network is ineffective for large or continental scale observation, but should be limited to a small-scale intensive observation such as for a preliminary study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-530
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001 May


  • Ground-based sensor
  • Remote sensing
  • Sampling error
  • Soil moisture
  • Soil moisture dynamics
  • Space-based sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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