Assessment of SMADI and SWDI agricultural drought indices using remotely sensed root zone soil moisture
The increasing frequency of drought events has expanded the research interest in drought monitoring. In this regard, remote sensing is a useful tool to globally mapping the agricultural drought. While this type of drought is directly linked to the availability of root zone soil moisture (RZSM) for plants growth, current satellite soil moisture observations only characterize the water content of the surface soil layer (0–5 cm). In this study, two soil moisture-based agricultural drought indices were obtained at a weekly rate from June 2010 to December 2016, using RZSM estimations at 1 km from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite, instead of surface soil moisture (SSM). The RZSM was estimated by applying the Soil Water Index (SWI) model to the SMOS SSM. The Soil Moisture Agricultural Drought Index (SMADI) and the Soil Water Deficit Index (SWDI) were assessed over the Castilla y León region (Spain) at 1 km spatial resolution. They were compared with the Atmospheric Water Deficit (AWD) and the Crop Moisture Index (CMI), both computed at different weather stations distributed over the study area. The level of agreement was analyzed through statistical correlation. Results showed that the use of RZSM does not influence the characterization of drought, both for SMADI and SWDI.