The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission Level-4 Soil Moisture (L4_SM) product provides 3-hourly, 9-km resolution, global estimates of surface (0-5 cm) and root-zone (0-100 cm) soil moisture and related land surface variables from 31 March 2015 to present with approx. 2.5-day latency. The ensemble-based L4_SM algorithm assimilates SMAP brightness temperature (Tb) observations into the Catchment land surface model. This study describes the spatially distributed L4_SM analysis and assesses the observation-minus-forecast (O-F) Tb residuals and the soil moisture and temperature analysis increments. Owing to the climatological rescaling of the Tb observations prior to assimilation, the analysis is essentially unbiased, with global mean values of approx. 0.37 K for the O-F Tb residuals and practically zero for the soil moisture and temperature increments. There are, however, modest regional (absolute) biases in the O-F residuals (under approx. 3 K), the soil moisture increments (under approx. 0.01 cu m/cu m), and the surface soil temperature increments (under approx. 1 K). Typical instantaneous values are approx. 6 K for O-F residuals, approx. 0.01 (approx. 0.003) cu m/cu m for surface (root-zone) soil moisture increments, and approx. 0.6 K for surface soil temperature increments. The O-F diagnostics indicate that the actual errors in the system are overestimated in deserts and densely vegetated regions and underestimated in agricultural regions and transition zones between dry and wet climates. The O-F auto-correlations suggest that the SMAP observations are used efficiently in western North America, the Sahel, and Australia, but not in many forested regions and the high northern latitudes. A case study in Australia demonstrates that assimilating SMAP observations successfully corrects short-term errors in the L4_SM rainfall forcing.