Assessing the potential of different satellite soil moisture products in landslide hazard assessment

Binru Zhao, Qiang Dai*, Shaonan Zhu, Qi Shen, Lu Zhuo, Dawei Han

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


With the development of remote sensing technology, satellite-based soil moisture estimates become more and more available, and the potential of satellite soil moisture products in landslide hazard assessment has been widely recognized. However, few studies have investigated the difference in this potential between different satellite soil moisture products. This study aims to assess different satellite soil moisture products from three aspects with more focus on their application in the landslide hazard assessment. First, the satellite data accuracy is evaluated by comparing with in-situ soil moisture measurements; Second, the completeness of the dataset is evaluated by analyzing missing values; Third, the performance in providing useful information for landslide assessment is evaluated based on infiltration events, which are identified from the time series of relative soil moisture and classified into two types: events with landslides and events without landslide. Through analyzing the difference of the event characteristics between these two types of events, the potential for landslide assessment is evaluated. Five latest satellite soil moisture datasets are selected, including ESA CCI soil moisture dataset, SMAP Level-3 (L3), enhanced Level-3 (L3), Level-4 (L4) surface, and Level-4 (L4) root zone soil moisture datasets. This study is carried out in a landslide-prone area, the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. Results show that compared with other products, SMAP Level-4 surface and root zone soil moisture products have higher consistency and linear correlation relationship with in-situ measurements, and have no missing values in the dataset. Besides, they also perform better in distinguishing infiltration events with landslides from those without landslide. These indicate that SMAP Level-4 soil moisture products have greater potential to be used in landslide assessment in the study region.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Jul 2021


  • satellite soil moisture
  • landslide assessment
  • soil moisture variability


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