Soil moisture (water-content) assessment by an airborne scatterometer: The Chernobyl disaster area and the Negev desert

D. G. Blumberg, V. Freilikher, I. V. Lyalko, L. D. Vulfson, A. L. Kotlyar, V. N. Shevchenko, A. D. Ryabokonenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Soil water content is an important component that influences meso- and microscale processes. The agricultural capacity of a site is directly affected by soil water content and it is especially important in arid regions. In temperate and humid regions, soil water content is important in determining flood risks. Environmentally, soil water content will influence the risk of carrying pollutants through the soil. For these reasons, a scatterometer was developed as a remote sensor for mapping soil water content. The scatterometer is frequency modulated using a continuous wave. This scatterometer operates at nadir with a wide antenna diagram of 10°. Measurements were conducted in two environments with different implications. The first was in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster area and the second in the Negev desert. Results show a good correlation between soil water content and the amplitude of the returned signal measured by the scatterometer. Thus, the scatterometer provides an efficient tool for mapping soil water content. The long wavelength (P-band) of λ=68 cm makes this scatterometer more sensitive to soil water content and less affected by surface roughness than scatterometers operating at shorter wavelengths. (C) Elsevier Science Inc., 2000.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-319
Number of pages11
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the generous support of the Israel Space Agency (ISA) for supporting the experiments in Israel through a strategic infrastructure grant (#1151) and the German Space Agency (DARA) for supporting the experiments in Ukraine. We also wish to thank Moshe Sagi (Gizi) and Yoel De'Malach of the experimental farm at Ashalim for allowing us to conduct experiments at the farm. Finally, the authors acknowledge the invaluable assistance of several graduate students, Gil Revivo, Guy Serbin, Michael Ginosov, Tali Neta, Itaro Tsyuki, and postdoctoral assistant Chingez Alekprov for conducting field measurements. Three anonymous reviewers are acknowledged for their comments that helped improve this manuscript.


Dive into the research topics of 'Soil moisture (water-content) assessment by an airborne scatterometer: The Chernobyl disaster area and the Negev desert'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this