Microwave subsurface remote sensing in the Negev Desert: Monitoring of soil water-content

D. G. Blumberg, V. Freilikher, J. Ben-Asher, J. Daniels, Yu Kaganovskii, A. Kotlyar, L. Vulfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We report the use of the microwave remote sensing as a technique with great potential for the mapping of subsurface properties including the monitoring of soil water conditions. Remote sensing experiments with microwave instrumentation were conducted in the Negev desert in Israel. The remote sensors used were a P-band (68 cm, 441 MHz) scatterometer and an ERS-2 C-band (5.3 cm, 5.7 GHz) SAR (synthetic aperture radar) along with the collection of ground truth data such as volumetric and gravimetric soil water-content, surface roughness and dielectric measurements. Corner reflectors in the field were used for calibration and geo-rectification of the SAR data. The results of the microwave experiments are in a good agreement with the developed theoretical models that take into account the effects of the random surface roughness. The optical modelling of microwave processes is presented as a tool for developing the physical basis for empirical studies. This practice simplifies testing theoretical predictions and reduces the immense cost of running field and laboratory measurements in the microwave range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-203
Number of pages25
JournalWaves in Random and Complex Media
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Israeli Space Agency under a strategic infrastructure grant of the Ministry of Arts and Sciences and Sports, No. 01-99-08412 and by the Israeli Science Foundation, grant No. 328/02. We are grateful to M. Sprintsin and M. Linestky for their assistance with the automated laser surface scanner. We extend our thanks to Ashalim research farm scientists, especially Tziyon Shemer and Menashe Levi for cooperating with this work and assisting in the field.


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