ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201904.0009.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: SMOS; drought index; summer 2018 drought
Online: 1 April 2019 (10:28:40 CEST)
Mapping drought from space using, e.g., surface soil moisture (SSM), has become viable in the last decade. However, state of the art SSM retrieval products suffer from very poor coverage over northern latitudes. In this study, we propose an innovative drought indicator with a wider spatial and temporal coverage than that obtained from satellite SSM retrievals. We evaluate passive microwave brightness temperature observations from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite as a surrogate drought metric, and introduce a Standardized Brightness Temperature Index (STBI). The STBI is validated against drought indices from a land surface data assimilation system (LDAS-Monde), two satellite dervied SSM indices and a standardized precipitation index. Finally, we evaluate the STBI against the before mentioned drought indices in a case study of the 2018 Nordic drought. The STBI is found to be superior to the drought index created from satellite derived SSM in both spatial and temporal coverage over the Nordic region. Our results indicate that when compared to drought indices from precipitation data and a land data assimilation system, the STBI is able to capture the 2018 drought onset, severity and extent. Thus, the STBI index could provide additional information for drought monitoring in regions where the SSM retrieval problem is difficult.