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Airborne Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface (AirMOSS)


NASA’s AirMOSS investigation provides high-resolution observations of root-zone soil moisture over regions representative of the major North American climatic regimes. AirMOSS flight campaigns from 2012-2015 used an airborne ultra-high frequency synthetic aperture radar flown on a Gulfstream-III aircraft to derive estimates of soil moisture down to approximately 1.2 meters. Extensive ground, tower, and aircraft in-situ measurements were collected to validate root-zone soil measurements and carbon flux model estimates.

The AirMOSS soil measurements can be used to better understand carbon fluxes and their associated uncertainties on a continental scale. Additionally, AirMOSS data provide a direct means for validating root-zone soil measurement algorithms from the Soil Moisture Active & Passive (SMAP) mission and assessing the impact of fine-scale heterogeneities in its coarse-resolution products.

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AirMOSS flight campaigns provided repeated measurements of soil moisture in nine different North American biomes. Image Credit: AirMOSS Science Team.