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An Evaluation of Total Solar Reflectance and Spectral Band Ratioing Techniques for Estimating Soil Water ContentFor several days in March of 1975, reflected solar radiation measurements were obtained from smooth and rough surfaces of wet, drying, and continually dry Avondale loam at Phoenix, Arizona, with pyranometers located 50 cm above the ground surface and a multispectral scanner flown at a 300-m height. The simple summation of the different band radiances measured by the multispectral scanner proved equally as good as the pyranometer data for estimating surface soil water content if the multispectral scanner data were standardized with respect to the intensity of incoming solar radiation or the reflected radiance from a reference surface, such as the continually dry soil. Without this means of standardization, multispectral scanner data are most useful in a spectral band ratioing context. Our results indicated that, for the bands used, no significant information on soil water content could be obtained by band ratioing. Thus the variability in soil water content should insignificantly affect soil-type discrimination based on identification of type-specific spectral signatures. Therefore remote sensing, conducted in the 0.4- to 1.0-micron wavelength region of the solar spectrum, would seem to be much More suited to identifying crop and soil types than to estimating of soil water content.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Reginato, R. J. (Water Conservation Lab. Phoenix, AZ United States)
Vedder, J. F. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Idso, S. B. (Water Conservation Lab. Phoenix, AZ United States)
Jackson, R. D. (Water Conservation Lab. Phoenix, AZ United States)
Blanchard, M. B. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Goettelman, R. (LFE Corp. Richmond, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
May 20, 1977
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 82
Issue: 15
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
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