Soil Moisture from Space

6th EO AFRICA R&D Facility Online Course

Soil Moisture from Space

Introduction to the course

Soil moisture (SM) plays a crucial role in land-atmosphere interaction processes. It determines the partitioning of rainfall between surface runoff, and groundwater recharge in the Water Cycle and the partitioning of incoming solar radiation between latent heat and sensible heat in the Energy Cycle. In water applications, soil moisture information can be used in agricultural monitoring, drought and flood forecasting, forest fire prediction, water supply management, and other natural resource activities for drought and flood monitoring.

Microwave remote sensing is a useful tool for estimating soil moisture over large areas. The aim of this course is to make participants grab the knowledge and estimate soil moisture information by utilizing existing (and future) passive and active microwave observations.

This online course will provide participants with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge on electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with materials, (passive) radiometry and thermal emission, and (active) radar equation, backscattering and SAR image processing. It will introduce radiative transfer model (also called Tau-omega for passive microwave for land) and water-cloud model (active), as well as corresponding retrievals of soil moisture. The lectures will be combined with hands-on exercises in including soil moisture estimation by using existing satellite EO products (e.g., Sentinel-1 SAR and SMAP radiometry.

Mode of Delivery

Course consists of pre-recorded lectures (presentations with voice-over, selection of webinars and exercised (data and guiding descriptions). MoodleCloud will be used as learning platform including a forum for QandA. Zoom will be used as interactive platform for live-sessions.


The participants need to have basic programming skills in Python.

Having studied the online course on Cloud Computing and Algorithms for EO Analyses would be beneficial. Note: Access to both courses will be given to those selected to attend the Soil Moisture from Space course.


The course will be offered to a maximum of 65 participants. Selection will be based on relevant academic background and employment. We will strive to have a gender-balanced and country-balanced group of participants. Preference is given to candidates working as (Ph.D.-) researchers, post-doc, and university staff. Selection will be made four weeks before the course starts to provide early access to prerequisite online courses on Cloud computing and EO.


The online course will have live introduction and Q&A sessions on: [ All CET-times which is UTC+1 ]

  • Monday, March 6, 10:00 AM
  • Friday, March 10, 16:00 PM
  • Friday, March 17, 16:00 PM
  • Friday, March 24, 16:00 PM
  • Friday, March 31, 16:00 PM