Village level soil moisture mapping using satellite data

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Knowledge of higher spatial resolution soil moisture is of paramount importance in agriculture, water resource management, flood, drought, etc. Soil moisture has a high spatial variability due to the variability in soil, vegetation and climate. Soil moisture can be measured using soil moisture sensors, however these measurements are point based and not feasible to cover large area.

Microwave remote sensing, particularly the lower frequency part, provides suitable option for soil moisture estimation in all weather conditions for larger scale. Microwave reflectance directly proportional to soil dielectric constant and so as moisture content.

We have developed algorithms to estimate soil moisture using the RISAT-1 (active microwave satellite) data. The advantage of model is that it does not require site specific calibration and hence can be easily applied to other areas. We have tested our model extensively in Karnataka state. Below figures show the village-wise soil moisture map for Bellary district.

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Dr. Sat Kumar Tomer

The author is expert in the application of remote sensing for managing the natural resources.