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47 Sensor Principles and Remote Sensing Techniques

Part 5. Remote Sensing

  1. Anthony W England Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa050

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

England, A. W. 2006. Sensor Principles and Remote Sensing Techniques. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 5:47.

Author Information

  1. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


Model-derived estimates of water stored in the upper few meters of soil, in vegetation, and in snow packs are the objectives of a new satellite microwave remote sensing technology. The most mature of the alternatives, this technology will use a combination of longer wavelength satellite microwave brightness observations and Soil Vegetation Atmosphere Transfer (SVAT) models, forced by solar and thermal radiation and by weather, to produce a near-daily global field of stored water. While the near-daily temporal resolution is a unique strength for hydrometeorology, its likely spatial resolution of tens of kilometers is a serious weakness for land-surface hydrology. This article is intended as a review of the concept and the investigations that have contributed to it. It also includes brief surveys of some technologies, like aperture synthesis radiometry and combined active passive sensing, that are being explored to improve spatial resolution.


  • soil moisture;
  • Snow Water Equivalent (SWE);
  • stored water;
  • microwave radiometry;
  • remote sensing hydrology