SMAP L4 Global 3-hourly 9 km EASE-Grid Surface and Root Zone Soil Moisture Analysis Update, Version 4
Data set id:
DOI: 10.5067/60HB8VIP2T8W
There is a more recent version of these data.
Version Summary

Changes to this version include:

  • The land surface modeling system was revised in the following ways:

    • Improved input parameter data sets for land cover, topography, and vegetation height are based on more recent data sets. Land cover inputs were updated to the GlobCover2009 product, resulting in a slightly different land mask between Version 3 and Version 4. Topographic statistics now rely on observations from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. Finally, vegetation height inputs are derived from space-borne lidar measurements.

    • The model background precipitation forcing is rescaled to match the climatology of the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (v2.2), which results in substantial changes in the precipitation and soil moisture climatology in Africa and the high latitudes, where the gauge-based Climate Prediction Center Unified precipitation is not used.

    • SMAP Level-2 soil moisture retrievals and in situ soil moisture measurements from the Soil Climate Analysis Network and U.S. Climate Reference Network were used to calibrate a particular Catchment model parameter that governs the recharge of soil moisture from the model’s root-zone excess reservoir into the surface excess reservoir. Specifically, the replenishment of soil moisture near the surface from below under non-equilibrium conditions was substantially reduced, which brings the model’s surface soil moisture more in line with the SMAP Level-2 and in situ soil moisture.

    • Additional model changes include revisions to the parameters and parameterizations of the surface energy balance and the snow depletion curve.

  • The Version 4 brightness temperature scaling parameters are based on eight years of SMOS observations and three years of SMAP observations where the SMOS climatology is unavailable due to radio frequency interference. Note that the calibration of the assimilated SMAP brightness temperatures changed substantially from Version 3 to Version 4.

  • Analysis increments are no longer computed for the “catchment deficit” model prognostic variable in the Ensemble Kalman filter update step.

  • Minor bug fixes.

  • Added x and y coordinate variables [including arrays of EASE-Grid 2.0 coordinate values, Climate and Forecast (CF)-compliant metadata, and HDF-5 dimension scales] as well as an EASE-Grid 2.0 projection grid mapping variable. This augmentation of L4 soil moisture data files improves interoperability and user workflow via ArcGIS/QGIS, OPeNDAP, and programmatic access. Three new data fields accommodate this change: EASE2_global_projection, x, and y.

For the full major and minor version history, go to


SMAP Level-4 (L4) surface and root zone soil moisture data are provided in three products: * SMAP L4 Global 3-hourly 9 km EASE-Grid Surface and Root Zone Soil Moisture Geophysical Data (SPL4SMGP, DOI: 10.5067/KPJNN2GI1DQR) * SMAP L4 Global 3-hourly 9 km EASE-Grid Surface and Root Zone Soil Moisture Analysis Update (SPL4SMAU, DOI: 10.5067/60HB8VIP2T8W) * SMAP L4 Global 9 km EASE-Grid Surface and Root Zone Soil Moisture Land Model Constants (SPL4SMLM, DOI: 10.5067/KGLC3UH4TMAQ). For each product, SMAP L-band brightness temperature data from descending and ascending half-orbit satellite passes (approximately 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. local solar time, respectively) are assimilated into a land surface model that is gridded using an Earth-fixed, global cylindrical 9 km Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid, Version 2.0 (EASE-Grid 2.0) projection.
Data Format(s):
Temporal Coverage:
31 March 2015 to 27 August 2020
Temporal Resolution:
  • 3 hour
Spatial Resolution:
  • 9 km
  • 9 km
Spatial Reference System(s):
WGS 84 / NSIDC EASE-Grid 2.0 Global
Spatial Coverage:
Blue outlined yellow areas on the map below indicate the spatial coverage for this data set.

Data Access & Tools

This data set has been retired. There is a more recent version of these data.

Help Articles

General Questions & FAQs

OPeNDAP, the Open-source Project for a Network Data Access Protocol, is a NASA community standard DAP that provides a simple way for researchers to access and work with data over the internet.
SMAP Ancillary data sets are used to produce SMAP Level-1, -2, -3, and -4 standard data products.
The following table describes both the required and actual latencies for the different SMAP radiometer data sets. Latency is defined as the time (# days, hh:mm:ss) from data acquisition to product generation.
This short article describes the customization services available for SMAP data using Earthdata Search.
There are a few reasons that the soil moisture data values in SMAP Level-4 data products may vary from what you expect in a particular region. The first step a data user should take in investigating apparently anomalous values is to look at the rich quality information and other data flags c
The surface and root zone soil moisture estimates in the SMAP Level-4 soil moisture products are the outputs of a land surface model into which SMAP observations of brightness temperature have been assimilated.

How to Articles

Many NSIDC DAAC data sets can be accessed using the NSIDC DAAC's Data Access Tool. This tool provides the ability to search and filter data with spatial and temporal constraints using a map-based interface.Users have the option to
The following are instructions on how to import and geolocate SMAP Level-3 Radiometer Soil Moisture HDF5 data in ENVI. Testing notes Software: ENVI Software version: 5.3 Platform: Windows 7
This How to guide outlines the steps for properly importing, projecting and visualizing HDF and NetCDF files in ArcMap. A couple of things to note before you start:
Data subscriptions are available for select NSIDC DAAC data collections. Once signed up, the subscription service automatically sends you new data as they are delivered from active NASA satellite missions.
All data from the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) can be accessed directly from our HTTPS file system, using wget or curl. Basic command line instructions are provided in the article below. 
NASA Earthdata Search is a map-based interface where a user can search for Earth science data, filter results based on spatial and temporal constraints, and order data with customizations including re-formatting, re-projecting, and spatial and parameter subsetting.
NASA Worldview is a map interface that allows users to interactively browse imagery, create visualizations, and download the underlying data.
NASA's Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) provides up to date, full resolution imagery for selected NSIDC DAAC data sets.