ir. Brecht Martens


I received the Master of Science degree of Engineer in Applied Biological Sciences from Ghent University in 2012. Currently, I am working as a doctoral research assistant at the Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Management – Ghent University. My Master Thesis Dissertation focussed on merging weather radar rainfall products and in situ observations in near-real time for operational purposes. I started my doctoral research with the optimisation of soil moisture retrievals from SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) data. More specifically, we have tried to improve the roughness parameterisation in the retrieval algorithms. This study was conducted in the frame of the FLOODMOIST project, funded by BELSPO (BELgian Science POlicy). Currently, my research focusses on improving global estimates of terrestrial evaporation and root-zone soil moisture from the Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model (GLEAM, This research frames in the ESA-funded projects SMOS+ET1 and SMOS+ET2. Next to my research activities, I am also responsible (since 2014) for the practical exercises of Hydrological Modelling, Ground Water Flow, Irrigation and Drainage (partim Drainage) and Meteorology and Hydrology (partim Hydrology), taught at Ghent University – Faculty of Bioscience Engineering.  


Research topics: remote sensing of hydrological variables, hydrological modelling, soil moisture, data assimilation, downscaling, extremes, terrestrial evaporation


Address: Coupure links 653 - Room A2.008

               9000 Ghent, Belgium

Phone: +32 9 264 61 37



  • 2014 – Present: Doctoral research assistant – Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Management, Ghent University
  • 2012 – 2014: Doctoral research scientist – Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Management, Ghent University
  • 2007 – 2012: MSc. in Applied Biological Sciences – Land and Water Management, Ghent University


  • SMOS+ET 2 (ESA) – Improving global-scale evaporation estimates through the use of SMOS data (2015-2016
  • SMOS+ET (ESA) ­– Assessment of the added value of SMOS for large-scale evaporation modelling (2014-2015)
  • FLOODMOIST (BELSPO) – Flood mapping and soil moisture retrieval for improved water management (2012-2014)

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (complete list here)

  1. Martens, B., Miralles, D.G., Lievens, H., van der Schalie, R., de Jeu, R.A.M., Fernández-Prieto, D., Beck, H.E., Dorigo, W.A., Verhoest, N.E.C. GLEAM v3: satellite-based land evaporation and root-zone soil moisture, Geoscientific Model Development Discussions, 2016.
  2. Miralles, D.G., Martens, B., Dolman, A.J., Jiménez, C., McCabe, M.F., Wood, E.F. Global Land Evaporation, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (in: “State of the Climate in 2015”), 97 (8), S34–S35, 2016.
  3. Beck, H.E., van Dijk, A.I.J.M., Levizzani, V., Schellekens, J., Miralles, D.G., Martens, B., de Roo, A. MSWEP: 3-hourly 0.25° global gridded precipitation (1979–2015) by merging gauge, satellite, and reanalysis data, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions, 2016.
  4. Martens, B., Miralles, D.G., Lievens, H., Fernández-Prieto, Verhoest, N.E.C. Improving terrestrial evaporation estimates over continental Australia through assimilation of SMOS soil moisture, International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 48(6), 146–162,2016.
  5. Lievens, H., De Lannoy, G.J.M., Al Bitar, A., Drusch, M., Dumedah, G., Hendricks Franssen, H.-J., Kerr, Y.H., Tomer, S., Martens, B., Merlin, O., Pan, M., Roundy, J.K., Vereecken, H., Walker, J.P., Wood, E.F., Verhoest, N.E.C., Pauwels, V.R.N. Assimilation of SMOS soil moisture and brightness temperature products into a land surface model, Remote Sensing of Environment, 180(7), 292–304, 2016.
  6. Miralles, D.G., Jiménez, C., Jung, M., Michel, D., Ershadi, A., McCabe, M.F., Hirschi, M., Martens, B., Dolman, A.J., Fisher, J.B., Mu, Q., Seneviratne, S.I., Wood, E.F., Fernández-Prieto, D. The WACMOS-ET project – Part 2: Evaluation of global terrestrial evaporation datasets, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20(2), 823–842, 2016.
  7. Michel, D., Jiménez, C., Miralles, D.G., Jung, M., Hirschi, M., Ershadi, A., Martens, B., McCabe, M.F., Fisher, J.B., Mu, Q., Seneviratne, S.I., Wood, E.F., Fernández-Prieto, D. The WACMOS-ET project – Part 1: Tower-scale evaluation of four remote sensing-based evapotranspiration algorithms, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20(2), 803–822, 2016.
  8. Lievens, H., Kumar Tomer, S., Al Bitar, A., De Lannoy, G.J.M., Drusch, M., Dumedah, G., Hendricks_Franssen, H.-J., Kerr, Y.H., Martens, B., Pan, M., Roundy, J.K., Vereecken, H., Walker, J.P., Wood, E.F., Verhoest, N.E.C. and Pauwels, V.R.N. SMOS soil moisture assimilation for improved hydrologic simulation in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia, Remote Sensing of Environment, 168(10), 146–162, 2015.
  9. Martens, B., Lievens, H., Colliander, A., Jackson, T.J., Verhoest, N.E.C. Estimating effective roughness parameters of the L-MEB model for soil moisture retrievals from passive microwave observations, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 53(7), 4091–4103, 2015. 
  10. Martens, B., Cabus, P., De Jongh, I. and Verhoest, N.E.C. Merging weather radar observations with ground-based measurements of rainfall using an adaptive multiquadric surface fitting algorithm, Journal of Hydrology, 500, 84–96, 2013.