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Activities of the International Soil Moisture Working Group Peter J. van Oevelen International GEWEX Project Office GEWEX@GEWEX.ORG Framework International Soil Moisture Working Group GEWEX CEOP Hydrological Applications Project GRP LandFlux Space Agencies ESA NASA JAXA

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activities of the international soil moisture working group

Activities of the International Soil Moisture Working Group

Peter J. van Oevelen

International GEWEX Project Office


  • International Soil Moisture Working Group
    • CEOP
      • Hydrological Applications Project
    • GRP
      • LandFlux
  • Space Agencies
    • ESA
    • NASA
    • JAXA
rationale for in situ network
Rationale for in-situ network
  • There is no current global network
  • Soil Moisture is regarded as (emerging) key variable by GCOS and considered to be important in land surface feed backs
  • Temporal change is as or even more important than spatial representation
  • Modelling implementation and Data Assimilation
  • Earth Observation Validation/calibration
  • EO does not give profile information (exception multi-band SAR)
  • Increased Process Understanding
  • Needed for Hydrological Applications
international soil moisture working group
International Soil Moisture Working Group
  • 2005: Started under the IGOS-P IGWCO (Integrated Global Observing Strategy – Partnership /Integrated Global Water Cycle Observations theme)
  • March 2006: First Workshop/Meeting, The Netherlands
  • November 2007: Second Workshop/Meeting, China
original ismwg objectives
Original ISMWG Objectives
  • To support international cooperation in research and applications in support of soil moisture satellite missions;
  • To support the development of an in-situ global soil moisture network;
  • To protect satellite missions dealing with soil moisture observations.
participation and needs
Participation and Needs
  • Global participation: identify key people and organizations worldwide;
  • Leadership from established programs (in-situ and satellite);
  • Definition of achievable goals (in-situ networks, satellite products);
  • Identify resources to enhance in-situ expansion and contributions to satellite/model validation.
ismwg commitments
ISMWG Commitments
  • Commits to a global network of in-situ soil moisture measurements
    • Lead international agency: GEWEX
    • Workshops (Bring together key people, establish goals, current activities, standards)
      • Noordwijk, ESTEC March 2006: Done
      • Beijing, IAP, November 2007: Done
    • Resources for enhancing unrepresented regions:
      • Key area unresolved
    • Data archival and distribution:
      • Current Lead: Portuguese Institute of Meteorology
ismwg commitments ii
ISMWG Commitments II
  • Commits to developing a quasi-operational soil moisture data product
    • Quality and relevance of current products: tbd
    • International support for planned dedicated missions may require commitment by missions to provide a timely product: GEO
second ismwg workshop
Second ISMWG Workshop
  • Held on November 14 and 15, 2007 at LASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 22 Registered Participants and 15 Students and Post-Docs
  • ~20 Presentations
why this workshop in 2007
Why this workshop in 2007?
  • Build upon First Workshop and increase coordination
  • Review individual activities
  • Identify best practices
  • Set goals for observing system integration
  • Role of in-situ in satellite product validation-specific design standards
  • How do we affect changes to existing protocols, expand (especially developing regions of the world), affiliate with a group with $$?
  • Identify the next steps
  • Report….GEWEX News?
  • Initiate Set-up of the Data Hosting Center
in situ measurement protocol
In-Situ Measurement Protocol
  • Uniformity
  • Representative
  • Consistency
  • (Cross-)Calibration/Validation
    • Site specific calibration: absolutely
    • Temperature: pref. At each depth and for each sensor
    • Soil Texture & Bulkdensity: needed
  • Relationship with gravimetric soil moisture is standard
  • Careful automation
  • Quality Assurance
in situ measurement protocol 2
In-Situ Measurement Protocol (2)
  • Density/depth/number of sensors
    • 5, 20 and 50 cm below surface
  • Units of representation
    • Volumetric or fractional between 0 and 1
  • Soil Moisture Definition
  • Soil texture description & soil hydraulic properties
    • Which metadata?
network design
Network Design
  • Density
  • Continuity
  • Data delivery/in-take, distribution & archiving (see next)
  • Metadata (see next)
  • Capacity Building
    • Training
    • Involvement LDC's
  • Linking Existing Networks (see next)
data hosting
Data Hosting
  • Data delivery/in-take, distribution & archiving
  • Metadata
  • Linking Existing Networks
  • ESA to support data hosting activity within framework of SMOS Cal/Val activities
ismwg meeting 2007
ISMWG Meeting 2007
  • As with the first meeting Spirit was very cooperative!
  • Openness and willingness to different views and opinions
  • Deemed very useful and worth keeping the momentum
topics for consideration
Topics for Consideration
  • How to stimulate contribution of data to data hosting center?
    • Rationale, all the reasons there are to not sit on your data but share…
  • How and who will get access to what?
  • A team is needed to start looking at instruments (intercomparison etc.)
  • Support for data hosting continuation (SMOS and beyond)
  • What else do we NEED to do?
past critical issues
Past Critical Issues
  • Data from outside of North-America and Europe
  • Loss of momentum with delay of SMOS launch
  • Separation of communities (both US vs Europe as well as agricultural vs hydrological)
  • Links to GEO and GEOSS (currently one of the water subtasks)
ismwg future
ISMWG Future
  • The Proposed New Structure and Embedding within GEWEX
  • The embedding of the ISMWG in the GEWEX Radiation Panel (GRP) requires a few changes in the so far loose structure. Proposed is a three tier system which is guided by a board consisting of the (co-)chairs of each of the tiers plus ex-officio members.
  • Consistent with other GRP activities
tier 1 validation
Tier 1: Validation:
  • Development of Global In-Situ Soil Moisture network and data sets to support validation of satellite soil moisture retrieval and assimilation
    • Data Hosting, Measurement Protocols
  • Validation of Satellite Soil Moisture Products and Soil Moisture Intercomparison Projects
    • Links all three tiers
tier 2 assimilation
Tier 2: Assimilation
  • The assimilation of soil moisture and satellite data (both active and passive ) into numerical weather prediction and hydrological modeling for both forecasting as well as process studies.
    • Important to show usefulness
    • Expand to yield forecasting
tier 3 product fusion and merging
Tier 3: Product fusion and merging
  • Development of long term consistent global soil moisture products (and their derivatives)
    • Combining various sources of data (PM, AM, In-Situ)
    • Climate/Trend research robust
key activities 2009
Key Activities 2009
  • ISMWG Custodian Soil Moisture Network in GTN-H
  • Workshops: Next (3rd)Workshop, Lisboa, Portugal (March 10, 11 2009)
  • Website:
  • Data Hosting Center kick-off
  • Link/interact/alignment with other relevant activities such as by NOAA