Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Remote Sensing of Soil Moisture with I-Band Signals of Opportunity

2020-05-08T19:26:10Z (GMT) by Jared D Covert
Measurements of root zone soil moisture play large roles in our understanding of the water cycle, weather, climate, land-heat exchanges, drought forecasting, and agriculture. Current measurements are made using a combination of ground-based sampling and active and passive microwave remote sensing. Signals of Opportunity (SoOp) has emerged as a promising method for sensing soil moisture, using satellite communication signals to make bi-static reflectometry measurements. The current combination of ground and satellite-based measurements for soil moisture results in a gap of useful spatial and temporal resolutions, as well as limited soil penetration depth. This thesis developed and constructed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mountable, I-band SoOp instrument with calibration capabilities, along with supporting specular point mapping and mission planning software. This work advances the creation of a compact, mobile, root zone soil moisture (RZSM) remote sensing system.