Measuring soil moisture from space

Soil moisture, i.e. the water within the top soil layer, plays a crucial role in the water cycle: it determines whether floods may occur or not during a heavy rainfall event.

Knowledge of the moisture content of the soil is therefore of crucial importance to improve discharge predictions in a river system under particular climatological conditions (such as precipitation).

Satellite observations (more specifically radars and radiometers) allow for estimating the water content in the topsoil layer based on a retrieval model.

Soil moisture observations from space allow for improving hydrological model predictions that serve as decision support tools in operational water management.


Prof. Niko Verhoest