24, July 2014

PROJECT TITLE: Assessment of Satellite Derived Soil Moisture Products over Romania — ASSIMO

Coordinator: National Meteorological Administration 

Partners: Esri Romania 

Period: November 2013 – October 2016

Project director: Andrei Diamandi 

Project team: NMA: 17 Senior Researchers, 2 Electronics Engineers, 2 Computer Scientists, 3 Junior Researchers, 1 Financial Officer

Esri RO: 4 Senior Researchers, 2 Junior Researchers

Description: The project addresses a theme of high socio-economic relevance, namely the continuous and accurate monitoring of soil moisture. 

ASSIMO will capitalize on the high investments in the space sector made in Europe and world-wide by utilizing data coming from Earth observation satellites which are excellent information sources for monitoring and evaluating soil moisture in near-real time.

ASSIMO proposes to have close links to, and act as a user of the Copernicus Land Monitoring Core Service (LMCS) (i.e. initially to the FP7 implementation activity named Geoland). ASSIMO will utilize land cover information products provided by the LMCS complementary to satellite data received directly from the GMES Space Component (GSC). Furthermore, ASSIMO will establish and operate technical interfaces with in-situ and reference data access services either provided by the ASSIMO project partners themselves, or by European (e.g. EEA), national or local authorities. The data ingestion, processing and delivery system for ASSIMO will be designed in a way that guarantees full online interoperability with the mentioned information input sources but also will allow on the output side embedding of services into the end-user decision support or resource management environments.

Although the benefits of using space-based Earth observations of soil moisture has been widely recognized at international level, up to this moment, no attempt has been made in Romania to provide the scientific community and the SBA’s with a modern, state of the art approach to their soil moisture data needs. 

As a consequence, in situ soil moisture measurements play an important role in the calibration and validation of satellite-based soil moisture retrievals and land-surface models. However, in most cases soil moisture networks provide one single observation within a satellite footprint, which impedes the upscaling of in situ soil moisture to the footprint level.

Recognizing this deficiency, as well as the increasing interest of the user community, the project is aimed at creating the framework for the validation, evaluation and utilization of actual & future satellite microwave soil moisture products, demonstrating its value, and by developing the necessary expertise to the benefit of the user community.

The concept of project relies on creating the necessary framework for the validation of actual & future satellite soil moisture products and stimulating their utilization in areas with high socioeconomic impact.

Project objectives:

  • Collect, analyze and compile the user requirements for validated SSM products;
  • Design, implement and operate the Continuous Soil Moisture & Temperature Ground-based Observation Network (RSMN) for the validation of soil moisture products derived from current in-orbit and future microwave instruments;
  • Define a validation scheme of ASCAT/SMOS/Sentinel-1 soil moisture products for the analyse and qualification of the RSMN implementation;
  • Design, implement and test a validation module and processing chain for the experimental validation of ASCAT/ SMOS/ Sentinel-1 soil moisture products;
  • Evaluate the performance of satellite moisture products from ASCAT/SMOS/Sentinel-1 compared with in-situ data from RSMN and the national agro-meteorological network;
  • Identify the SBA’s subcategories which would most gain from satellite soil moisture products, based on user requirements and results of the validation experiments;
  • Prepare for the validation and utilisation of Sentinel-1 soil moisture products;
  • Contribute to the International Soil Moisture Network (ISMN) and participate in international cal/val activities.


  • WP1 – Management
  • WP2 – User requirements
  • WP3 – Design, Implementation and Operation of the Continous Soil Moisture & Temperature Ground-based Observation Network (RSMN)
  • WP4 – Validation of Satellite Soil Moisture Products
  • WP5 – Assessment of Satellite Soil Moisture Products and Future Use
  • WP6 – Participation in the ISMN and Dissemination

Contributions to the STAR programme objectives:

  • Real-time and historical time-series of in-situ data from RSMN will enable Romanian organisations to participate in validation studies of soil moisture products from existing satellite sensors and cal/val campaigns of the upcoming satellite microwave instruments (e.g. SENTINEL-1);
  • The acquired know-how in the design & implementation of the processing chain for the experimental validation of ASCAT/SMOS/Sentinel-1 soil moisture products is a key asset in the development of a future operational soil moisture service;
  • The project is expected to stimulate young researchers to pursue research in the project’s topic to ( 1 PhD to be shortly announced) thus contributing to the enlargement of the satellite soil moisture scientific community)

Homepage: ASSIMO