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https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-48
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-48
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: data description paper 06 Apr 2020

Submitted as: data description paper | 06 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A dense network of cosmic-ray neutron sensors for soil moisture observation in a pre-alpine headwater catchment in Germany

Benjamin Fersch1, Till Francke2, Maik Heistermann2, Martin Schrön3, Veronika Döpper4, Jannis Jakobi5, Gabriele Baroni2,6, Theresa Blume7, Heye Bogena5, Christian Budach2, Tobias Gränzig4, Michael Förster4, Andreas Güntner7,2, Harrie-Jan Hendricks-Franssen5, Mandy Kasner3, Markus Köhli8,9, Birgit Kleinschmit4, Harald Kunstmann1,10, Amol Patil10, Daniel Rasche7,2, Lena Scheiffele2, Ulrich Schmidt8, Sandra Szulc-Seyfried2, Jannis Weimar8, Steffen Zacharias3, Marek Zreda11, Bernd Heber12, Ralf Kiese1, Vladimir Mares13, Hannes Mollenhauer3, Ingo Völksch1, and Sascha Oswald2 Benjamin Fersch et al.
  • 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Campus Alpin (IMK-IFU), Kreuzeckbahnstraße 19, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 2Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 24–25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
  • 3UFZ – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH, Dep. Monitoring and Exploration Technologies, Permoserstr. 15, 04318, Leipzig, Germany
  • 4Technical University of Berlin, Geoinformation for Environmental Planning Lab, Straße des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin, Germany
  • 5Agrosphere IBG-3, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Leo-Brandt-Straße, 52425 Jülich, Germany
  • 6Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Viale Fanin 50, 40127 Bologna, Italy
  • 7GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section Hydrology, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 8Physikalisches Institut, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 226, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
  • 9Physikalisches Institut, University of Bonn, Nussallee 12, 53115 Bonn, Germany
  • 10Institute of Geography, University of Augsburg, Alter Postweg 118, 86159 Augsburg, Germany
  • 11Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, 1133 E. James E. Rogers Way, 85721-0011 Tucson, Arizona, USA
  • 12Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics, University of Kiel, Germany
  • 13Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Radiation Medicine, Neuherberg, Germany

Abstract. Monitoring soil moisture is still a challenge: it varies strongly in space and time and at various scales while well established sensors typically suffer from a small spatial support. With a sensor footprint up to several hectares, Cosmic-Ray Neutron Sensing (CRNS) is an emerging technology to address that challenge.

So far, the CRNS method has typically been applied with single sensors or in sparse national scale networks. This study presents, for the first time, a dense network of 24 CRNS stations that covered, from May to July 2019, an area of just 1 km2: the pre-alpine Rott headwater catchment in Southern Germany which is characterized by strong soil moisture gradients in a heterogeneous landscape with forests and grasslands. With substantially overlapping sensor footprints, that network was designed to study root zone soil moisture dynamics at the catchment-scale. The observations of the dense CRNS network were complemented by extensive measurements that allow to study soil moisture variability at various spatial scales: roving (mobile) CRNS units, remotely sensed thermal images from Unmanned Areal Systems (UAS), permanent and temporary wireless sensor networks, profile probes as well as comprehensive manual soil sampling. Since neutron counts are also affected by hydrogen pools other than soil moisture, vegetation biomass was monitored in forest and grassland patches, as well as meteorological variables; discharge and groundwater tables were recorded to support hydrological modeling experiments.

As a result, we provide a unique and comprehensive dataset to several research communities: to those who investigate the retrieval of soil moisture from cosmic-ray neutron sensing, to those who study the variability of soil moisture at different spatio-temporal scales, and to those who intend to better understand the role of root-zone soil moisture dynamics in the context of catchment and groundwater hydrology, as well as land – atmosphere exchange processes. The data set is available through EUDAT, splitted into the two subsets https://doi.org/10.23728/b2share.85fe0f9dac0f48df9215c17e65d1f1e1 (Fersch et al., 2020a) and https://doi.org/10.23728/b2share.93ed99e486904d48a8a6a68083066198 (Fersch et al., 2020b).

Benjamin Fersch et al.

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Benjamin Fersch et al.

Data sets

A massive coverage experiment of cosmic ray neutron sensors for soil moisture observation in a pre-alpine catchment in SE-Germany (part I: core data) [pre-review version] B. Fersch, T. Francke, M. Heistermann, M. Schrön, V. Döpper, and J. Jakobi https://doi.org/10.23728/b2share.85fe0f9dac0f48df9215c17e65d1f1e1

A massive coverage experiment of cosmic ray neutron sensors for soil moisture observation in a pre-alpine catchment in SE-Germany (part II: thermal imagery) [pre-review version] B. Fersch, T. Francke, M. Heistermann, M. Schrön, V. Döpper, and J. Jakobi https://doi.org/10.23728/b2share.93ed99e486904d48a8a6a68083066198

Benjamin Fersch et al.

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