Document Type



A model framework for parameterized subgrid-scale surface fluxes (PASS) has been modified and applied as PASS1 to use satellite data, models, and limited surface observations to infer root-zone available moisture (RAM) content with high spatial resolution over large terrestrial areas. Data collected during the 1997 Cooperative Atmosphere–Surface Exchange Study field campaign at the Atmospheric Boundary Layer Experiments site in the Walnut River watershed in Kansas were used to evaluate applications of the PASS1 approach to infer soil moisture content at times of satellite overpasses during cloudless conditions. Data from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers on the NOAA-14 satellite were collected and then adjusted for atmospheric effects by using LOWTRAN7 and local atmospheric profile data from radiosondes. The input variables for PASS1 consisted of normalized difference vegetation index and surface radiant temperature, together with representative observations of downwelling solar irradiance, air temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed. Surface parameters, including roughness length, albedo, surface conductance for water vapor, and the ratio of soil heat flux to net radiation, were estimated with parameterizations suitable for the area using satellite data and land-use information; pixel-specific near-surface meteorological conditions such as air temperature, vapor pressure, and wind speed were adjusted according to local surface forcing; and RAM content was estimated using surface energy balance and aerodynamic methods. Comparisons with radar cumulative precipitation observations and in situ soil moisture estimates indicated that the spatial and temporal variations of RAM at the times of satellite overpasses were simulated reasonably well by PASS1.

Publication Date



D0 Collaboration


Department of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences

Legacy Department

Department of Geography






American Meteorological Society



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.