A Global Sensitivity Analysis of Soil Parameters Associated With Backscattering Using the Advanced Integral Equation Model

A profound and comprehensive understanding of the sensitivity of soil parameters related to backscattering coefficient is significant for the use of active microwave algorithms for soil moisture inversion. This paper presents a global sensitivity analysis (SA) based on the Advanced Integral Equation Model for soil moisture retrieval. The analysis involves diverse parameter ranges, sensor frequencies, incidence angles, surface correlation functions, and polarizations across various experiments. The primary objectives are to quantitatively and systematically evaluate the parameter sensitivities and their variations under various conditions, resulting in an improved understanding of microwave scattering and suggesting potential approaches to the improvement of soil moisture retrieval. The performance of this SA leads to the parameter sensitivities being quantified. Sensitive and insensitive parameters are distinguished. The existence of the former informs the direction of model calibration, implying that these parameters can be inverted with high confidence. Setting the latter as constants would be a step toward model simplification. Various conditions are observed to influence the parameter sensitivities, suggesting that it is possible to perform soil moisture or roughness inversions under the most sensitive conditions for the parameters. Finally, an SA of various combinations of dual-polarization, dual-frequency, and dual-incidence-angle backscatter is conducted. The results suggest that certain combinations enhance the sensitivities of certain parameters and allow for better estimation of their values. Ultimately, the presented global SA highlights the quantitative and systematic evaluation of parameter sensitivities, particularly their interactions, leading to a more profound understanding of scattering and an improvement in soil moisture estimation.