Home | Publications

VUA-NASA Land Parameter Retrieval Model

The Land Parameter Retrieval Model consitute a global database of:

  • Surface Soil Moisture;
  • Land Surface Temperature and;
  • Vegetation Water Content (i.e. Vegetation Optical Depth).
The parameters are derived from passive microwave remote sensing data. The dataset covers the period of 1978 to present and has a 2-3 day revisit time at the equator for both day and night time overpasses.

The LPRM is based on a forward radiative transfer model to retrieve surface soil moisture and vegetation optical depth. The land surface temperature is derived seperately from Ka-band. A unique feature of this method is that it may be applied at any microwave frequency, making it very suitable to exploit all the available passive microwave data from historic satellites (see table below).

Available Products
Satellite Years Product
SMMR 1978 to 1987 LST, Soil moisture (C and X-band), Vegetation Optical Depth (C and X-band),
SSM/I 1987 to present LST, Soil moisture (Ku-band), Vegetation Optical Depth (Ku-band),
TRMM-TMI 1998 to present LST, Soil moisture (X-band), Vegetation Optical Depth (X-band), and estimations of soil moisture uncertainties
AMSR-E June 2002 to October 2011 LST, Soil moisture (C and X-band), Vegetation Optical Depth (C and X-band), and estimations of soil moisture uncertainties

There is additionally also a merged 32 year soil moisture product available. This product combines both the active and passive microwave soil moisture products and is developed in close collaboration with TU Wien. This dataset is free available at the ESA Climate Change Initiative website

The VUA-NASA retrieval products are available through different web portals.

The AMSR-E and TRMM soil moisture products can be found on NASA's Global Change Master Directory which hosts both our level 2 (Swath) and Level 3 (gridded) products:


AMSR-E LPRM L3 descending data

AMSR-E LPRM L3 ascending data

AMSR-E LPRM Rootzone soil moisture data (in collaboration with USDA (Wade Crow))


TRMM LPRM L3 night-time data

TRMM LPRM L3 day-time data

These datasets are also available through the NASA Mirador Portal and will soon also became available through NASA GIOVANNI.

The SMMR and SSM/I soil moisture products are available through the following ftp site.


username  : adaguest

pwd  : downloader

Unfortunately this ftp site will soon disapear but we are currently developing a new ftp site..

Please refer to the following citation when using soil moisture data:

Owe, M., R.A.M. De Jeu, and T.R.H. Holmes, 2008, "Multi-Sensor Historical Climatology of Satellite-Derived Global Land Surface Moisture", J. Geophys. Res., 113, F01002, doi:1029/2007JF000769

for the temperature data:

Holmes, TRH, R,A.M. De Jeu, M. Owe and A.J. Dolman, 2009, "Land Surface Temperature from Ka-band (37 GHz) Passive Microwave Observations;, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D04113, doi:10.1029/2008JD010257.

for the vegetation optical depth data:

Liu, Y, RAM de Jeu, MF McCabe, JP Evans and AIJM van Dijk, Global long-term passive microwave satellite based retrievals of vegetation optical depth, Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L18402, doi: 10.1029/2011GL048684

and for the soil moisture uncertainties:

Parinussa R, AGCA Meesters, Y Liu, W Dorigo, W Wagner and RAM De Jeu An Analytical Solution to Estimate the Error Structure of a Global Soil Moisture Dataset, IEEE Geoscience and remote sensing letters, 8, 779-783, doi: 10.1109/LGRS.2011.2114872


VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of earth and Life Science
Department of Eco-Hydrology
The Netherlands

NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre
Hydrology Section
  • Dr. Manfred Owe