This paper reports on a new soil moisture disaggregation scheme based on topography and soil depth information. It is designed for low resolution remote sensing data assimilation into hydrological modelling. The scheme makes use of a simple Soil Vegetation Atmosphere Transfer model coupled to the TOPMODEL formalism. Water and energy balance are computed at the catchment scale, taking lateral flows due to topography into account. Lumped values of near-surface and deep soil water content are then disaggregated at local scale using simple relationship between mean quantities, local topography and soil depth information. Results for a small water catchment in South-eastern Australia show satisfactory reproduction of the local soil moisture patterns using a combination of topography and soil depth information. Due to subgrid variability and differences between the simulation and observation scale (the Digital Elevation Model pixel versus the point measurement), the point-to-point comparison between observations and simulations shows a poor correlation. Rescaling shows that a good correlation is obtained when averaging the simulated and observed soil moisture over a length of 100 m.
Journal Of Hydrology Vol. 276, Issue 1-4, p. 112-127