In the renewed system of Aratos Earth Observation Data Platform the Surface Soil Moisture layer is added. is the relative water content of the top few centimeters soil, describing how wet or dry the soil is in its topmost layer, expressed in percent saturation. It is measured by satellite radar sensors and allows insights in local precipitation impacts and soil conditions. Knowledge on the dynamics of soil moisture is important in the understanding of processes in many environmental and socio-economic fields, e.g., its impact on vegetation vitality, crop yield, droughts or exposure to flood threats.
Soil Moisture is recognized as an Essential Climate Variable (ECV) by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS).
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