Ground-Based Soil Moisture Retrieval Using the Correlation Between Dual-Polarization GNSS-R Interference Patterns

El Hajj, Marcel M.; Steele-Dunne, Susan C.; Almashharawi, Samer K.; Tian, Xuemeng; Johansen, Kasper; Lopez Camargo, Omar A.; Amezaga-Sarries, Adria; Mas-Vinolas, Andreu; McCabe, Matthew F.


Soil moisture (SM) is an important state variable in land surface models. Here, we investigate the potential of a ground-based global navigation satellite system receiver with two linearly polarized antennas that measure the interference power (IP) of direct and reflected signals in horizontal polarization (H-pol) and vertical polarization (V-pol) to estimate SM. The coefficient of determination between the IP waveforms at H-pol and V-pol ( $\boldsymbol {R}_{ \boldsymbol {v}\mathbf {/} \boldsymbol {h}}^{\mathbf {2}}$ ) was used as a predictor of SM. A coherent specular reflection model was employed to first explore the relationship between $\boldsymbol {R}_{ \boldsymbol {v}\mathbf {/} \boldsymbol {h}}^{\mathbf {2}}$ and SM for different values of soil roughness. That relationship was subsequently applied to estimate SM from $\boldsymbol {R}_{ \boldsymbol {v}\mathbf {/} \boldsymbol {h}}^{\mathbf {2}}$ determined from global positioning system (GPS) signals acquired continuously by a ground-based receiver between May and December 2022 for an area with very smooth bare soil. The results show that the proposed method can estimate the SM of the upper 10-cm layer with high accuracy (with a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of approximately 1.5 vol.%) and demonstrate the potential of the ground-based IP technique as a practical system solution for proximal remote sensing of SM over bare soils .