Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016PR174B

Mapping Field-Scale Soil Moisture Using Ground-Based Passive Microwave Observations Phase II: Application of Remotely Sensed Soil Moisture Data Products for Hydrological Modeling in Puerto Rico

Institute: Puerto Rico
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $20,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $43,474

Principal Investigators: Jonathan MunozBarreto

Abstract: This work is an extension of the project Mapping Field-Scale Soil Moisture Using Ground-Based Passive Microwave Observations in Western Puerto Rico. Throughout the first phase of this work (still in progress), a unique data set of soil moisture conditions of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean has been gathered. The primary objective of Phase II is to continue and expand the observational cycle for another season (winter 2016). This work also aims, to assimilate and incorporate satellite soil moisture data into a hydrological model. As well, due to the technical difficulties confronted by the SMAP mission, modifications have been made to the original scope (phase I) and now this work also includes soil moisture data from other sources like the JPSS/GCOM-W. After rainfall, soil moisture is the most important factor dictating flash flooding because rainfall infiltration and runoff are based on the saturation of the soil moisture. Accurate estimation or observation is always critical for the monitoring and forecasting of flash floods. JPSS/GCOM-W and SMAP provides remotely sensed surface soil moisture data products globally, including Puerto Rico. However, how accurate this product is and how it could be used to improve hydrological modeling are still questions to be addressed. This project targets these two questions with the three following goals: 1) continue the data collection by using the L-band microwave radiometer to observe local scale soil moisture in Puerto Rico in order to provide ground validation data for satellite soil moisture data product; 2) develop and test a framework to integrate satellite soil moisture data into the HL-RDHM model to improve NWS flash flood guidance for Puerto Rico; (3) Train up to two graduate students in applied science research with using satellite remote sensing data in NOAA flash flood monitoring/forecast operations. Concurrently to the data collection; a frame work will be developed with the objective of integrate satellite soil moisture data into the NOAA Hydrology Laboratory-Research Distributed Hydrologic Model (HL-RDHM). The soil moisture data will be incorporated from JPSS/GCOM-W or SMAP to replace the model-calculated soil moisture state to the HL-RDHM by simultaneous horizontal, vertical, and temporal data assimilations. The coarse spatial resolution (25 km) JPSS/GCOM-W or SMAP data will be downscaled to 4 km x 4 km Hydrologic Rainfall Analysis Project (HRAP) grid cells using physical parameters (Seo, Lakhankar, et al 2014).