The Canadian Experiment for Soil Moisture in 2010 (CanEx-SM10) is primarily designed to support the ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) validation activities over Land and to develop soil moisture retrieval algorithms in Canada. Due to Canada’s involvement in the Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) mission of NASA, scheduled for launch in 2014, CanEx-SM10 is extended to include the pre-launch validation of SMAP.

During CanEx-SM10, scheduled from May 31st to June 17th, 2010, spaceborne microwave measurements from SMOS, AMSR-E, ASAR-Envisat, RADARSAT-2, and ALOS-PALSAR will be collected along with airborne measurements using passive and active instruments including an L-band radiometer mounted onboard Environment Canada’s Twin Otter aircraft and NASA’s L-band Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) flown in a Gulfstream III piloted aircraft. In addition, the experiment will provide ground measurements of soil moisture, surface temperature, and others surface characteristics (vegetation, roughness, soil density, etc.) at a time close to satellite and airborne acquisitions.

Over 50 researchers and students will participate to the field campaigns that will take place over an agricultural site located in Kenaston (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) and a forested site, which is the Boreal Ecosystem Research and Monitoring Sites (BERMS) also located in Saskatchewan. These sites of about 33 km x 71 km, covering about two SMOS pixels, were selected in order to test SMOS and UAVSAR data and soil moisture retrievals algorithms over very different soil and vegetation conditions. Both sites benefit from existing soil moisture networks of Environment Canada. A more extensive soil moisture network managed by University of Guelph is located at Kenaston site. A temporary network of about twenty stations will be installed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to collect hourly soil moisture data at the BERMS site.

CanEx-SM10 is funded by several agencies in Canada (NSERC, EC, CSA, and AAFC) and USA (NASA). It is a first attempt in Canada to set up soil moisture observations simultaneously to satellite and aircraft microwave measurements for the development of large scale soil moisture retrieval algorithms.