Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Review of Geophysics

Publication Date







National Science Foundation (NSF). Grant Numbers: 1521164, 1521469


Soil moisture (SM) is a key hydrologic state variable that is of significant importance for numerous Earth and environmental science applications that directly impact the global environment and human society. Potential applications include, but are not limited to, forecasting of weather and climate variability; prediction and monitoring of drought conditions; management and allocation of water resources; agricultural plant production and alleviation of famine; prevention of natural disasters such as wild fires, landslides, floods, and dust storms; or monitoring of ecosystem response to climate change. Because of the importance and wide-ranging applicability of highly variable spatial and temporal SM information that links the water, energy, and carbon cycles, significant efforts and resources have been devoted in recent years to advance SM measurement and monitoring capabilities from the point to the global scales. This review encompasses recent advances and the state-of-the-art of ground, proximal, and novel SM remote sensing techniques at various spatial and temporal scales and identifies critical future research needs and directions to further advance and optimize technology, analysis and retrieval methods, and the application of SM information to improve the understanding of critical zone moisture dynamics. Despite the impressive progress over the last decade, there are still many opportunities and needs to, for example, improve SM retrieval from remotely sensed optical, thermal, and microwave data and opportunities for novel applications of SM information for water resources management, sustainable environmental development, and food security.

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