Calibration of volumetric soil moisture using Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery by Google Earth Engine




Satellite images, models, vegetation indices, pixel distributions


Water scarcity for agriculture is increasingly evident due to climatic alterations and inadequate management of this resource. Therefore, developing digital models that help improve water resource management to provide solutions to agronomic problems in northern Mexico is necessary. In this context, the objective of the present research is to calibrate the Optical Trapezoid (OPTRAM) and Thermal-Optical Trapezoid (TOTRAM) models to estimate the volumetric soil moisture at different depths through vegetation indices derived from Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 satellite images using Google Earth Engine (GEE). Agricultural areas under gravity irrigation and rainfed runoff in the Comarca Lagunera, the lower part of the Hydrological Region No. 36 of the Nazas and Aguanaval rivers were selected for in-situ measurements. The OPTRAM and TOTRAM normalized moisture content (W) estimates were compared with in-situ volumetric soil moisture (Ɵ) data. Results indicate that the predictions of OPTRAM errors using Sentinel-2 images showed RMSE between 0.033 to 0.043 cm3 cm-3 and R2 between 0.66 to 0.75, whereas Landsat-8 errors showed RSME from 0.036 to from 0.036 to 0.057 cm3 cm-3 and R2 between 0.70 to 0.81. On the other hand, TOTRAM errors showed RMSE between 0.045 to 0.053 cm3 cm-3 and R2 between 0.62 to 0.85 through calibrations. This study made it possible to evaluate the most accurate combinations of the pixel distributions of each model and vegetation indices for the estimation of volumetric soil moisture within the different phenological stages of the crops.


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Author Biographies

José Rodolfo Quintana-Molina, Chapingo Autonomous University

MSc. in Natural Resources and Environment in Arid Zones and Bachelor's in Irrigation Engineering at Chapingo Autonomous University. Research experience in remote sensing processes in agriculture, hydrology, natural resources, and the environment. He is currently working as a research intern at The Smart Biosystems Laboratory at the University of Seville.

Ignacio Sánchez-Cohen, INIFAP-CENID RASPA Centro Nacional de Investigación Disciplinaria en Relación Agua-Suelo-Planta-Atmósfera

Dr. Ignacio Sanchez Cohen is an agricultural engineer and serves as researcher at the National Institute for Forestry Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Research in Mexico. He has been the research leader of this institute's integrated watershed management research program. In addition, he was the national coordinator of the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico's water net, representing 52 academic and research institutions in Mexico. He holds a Bachelor's in irrigated agriculture, a Master's in soil and water management, and a Ph.D. in Physical Aspects of Arid Lands from the University of Arizona in the USA. During his years of research experience, he has participated in several international and national projects related to watershed management.

Sergio Iván Jiménez-Jiménez, INIFAP-CENID RASPA Centro Nacional de Investigación Disciplinaria en Relación Agua-Suelo-Planta-Atmósfera

Researcher at INIFAP-CENID RASPA National Center for Disciplinary Research on the Water-Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Relationship. MSc in Water Science and Technology and at Mexican Institute of Water Technology and Bacherlor's in Irrigation Engineering at Chapingo Autonomous University.  He has taught two classroom courses, the first related to the design and development of modernization and projects of pressurized irrigation systems and the second one with the analysis of drone images. He has participated as an assistant of scientific committees of congresses, logistic support in courses, and collaborator in the presentation of research works. In addition, he supported the training of agricultural producers in the southern area of the state of Tamaulipas. He has also participated in about 13 virtual and classroom courses in different states of the country related to software management, irrigation systems, analysis of images obtained from drones, and fundamentals of scientific writing.

Mariana de Jesús Marcial-Pablo, INIFAP-CENID RASPA Centro Nacional de Investigación Disciplinaria en Relación Agua-Suelo-Planta-Atmósfera

Researcher at INIFAP-CENID RASPA National Center for Disciplinary Research on the Water-Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Relationship. MSc in Water Science and Technology and at Mexican Institute of Water Technology and Bacherlor's in Irrigation Engineering at Chapingo Autonomous University.

Ricardo Trejo-Calzada, Chapingo Autonomous University

Researcher in Natural Resources and Environment in Arid Zones Program at Chapingo Autonomous University, Ph.D in Agricultural Science at New Mexico State University, MSc in Plant Physiology at Postgraduate College and Bachelor's in Agronomy Engineering at Chapingo Autonomous University.

Emilio Quintana-Molina, Wageningen University & Research

MSc Student International Land and Water Management within Water Resources Management chair group at Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands. Bachelor's in Irrigation Engineering, Chapingo Autonomous University, Mexico. He is interested in conducting research and consultancy that water sector demands in Mexico and around the world, contributing to the development of society overall. He is currently collaborating in experimental research projects at the Gilat Research Center for Arid & Semi-Arid Agricultural Research, ARO-Volcani, Israel.


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