Tibetan Plateau, Peoples Republic of China

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Purpose of Observation:

The soil moisture and soil temperature networks are setup for two primary purposes:

The Tibet-Obs networks were primarily designed to serve both aims. The building up of Tibet-Obs started from 2006 at Naqu, while it was only completed after 2010. Before May 2008, only the Naqu network was equipped with five observation stations. After that, 20 more stations were installed in the Maqu network. It was not until August 2010 both Ali and Shiquanhe networks were equipped with an extra 20 stations, which leads to the Tibet-Obs crossing over three different typical climate conditions over the Tibetan Plateau (Su et al. 2011).

The Tibet-Obs was envisioned to be maintained and operated for providing long-term consistent soil moisture soil temperature climate data records over the TP. Such vision requires the adherence to guidelines/principles for climate monitoring, which includes the site selection(e.g characteristics), International System of Unites (SI) traceability (e.g. instruments), maintenance, data ingest, quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), and timely delivery of the data.

The long-term consistent SMST climate data records over the TP will inevitably promote fundamental contributions to the understanding of land-atmosphere interaction over the TP, as well as the understanding of physical mechanisms involved in the high-latitude/high-mountain land surface processes that are most sensitive to climate changes).

Other than the compliance of each single SMST station with climate monitoring principles, for the validation of satellite soil moisture products, there is a specific requirement on the number of sites located in one pixel. For example, SMAP specified that a 36-km CVS should have at least 8 stations (70% confidence for 0.03 m3/m3 soil moisture uncertainty with 0.07 m3/m3 variability), a 9-km core site at least 5 stations (70% confidence for 0.03 m3/m3 soil moisture uncertainty with 0.05 m3/m3 variability), and a 3-km core site at least 3 stations (70% confidence for 0.05 m3/m3 soil moisture uncertainty with 0.05 m3/m3 variability). There are similar requirements for SMOS, AMSRE and ESA CCI products.

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