Examining the variation of soil moisture from cosmic-ray neutron probes footprint: Experimental results from a COSMOS-UK site

Owen D. Howells, George P. Petropoulos*, Dimitris Triantakonstantis, Zacharias Ioannou, Prashant K. Srivastava, Spyridon E. Detsikas, George Stavroulakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Utilising cosmic-ray neutron probes is a relatively new approach in obtaining larger area soil moisture and various operational monitoring networks have been established worldwide utilising this technology to measure operationally this parameter. One such network located in the United Kingdom (UK) is the Cosmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System, so-called COSMOS-UK, established in 2013. The present study aims at investigating the true footprint and the variations within the footprint detectable area at the COSMOS-UK sites using as a case study one such site located in Riseholme, UK. At the selected experimental site extensive fieldwork was conducted in July 2017 that allowed examining the agreement among the soil moisture data retrieved by the Time Domain Transmissometer (TDT) sensors and the corresponding estimates from the COSMOS-UK network station probe. The COSMOS-UK site footprint was compared using GPS-aided information from ground instrumentation, assisted by drone imagery acquisition and the implementation of geospatial interpolation methods in a Geographical Information System (GIS) environment. Altogether, this information was used for assessing the soil moisture footprint extent from the COSMOS-UK site. The COSMOS-UK station footprint was representative for an area shorter in size than the alleged footprint of 600 m diameter, as generally proposed in various relevant investigations. The COSMOS network slightly overestimated soil moisture content measured by the TDT sensor probes installed in the area. Our study findings although concern specifically the studied experimental site contribute towards efforts aiming at assessing the COSMOS-UK soil moisture measurement footprint showcasing the added value of geospatial analysis in this direction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jan 2023


  • Geoinformation
  • Remote sensing
  • Soil moisture monitoring
  • Spatial analysis


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