COSMOS-Europe: a European network of cosmic-ray neutron soil moisture sensors

Heye Reemt Bogena*, Martin Schrön, Jannis Jakobi, Patrizia Ney, Steffen Zacharias, Mie Andreasen, Roland Baatz, David Boorman, Mustafa Berk Duygu, Miguel Angel Eguibar-Galán, Benjamin Fersch, Till Franke, Josie Geris, María González Sanchis, Yann Kerr, Tobias Korf, Zalalem Mengistu, Arnaud Mialon, Paolo Nasta, Jerzy NitychorukVassilios Pisinaras, Daniel Rasche, Rafael Rosolem, Hami Said, Paul Schattan, Marek Zreda, Stefan Achleitner, Eduardo Albentosa-Hernández, Zuhal Akyürek, Theresa Blume, Antonio del Campo, Davide Canone, Katya Dimitrova Petrova, John Evans, Stefano Ferraris, Félix Frances, Davide Gisolo, Andreas Güntner, Frank Herrmann, Joost Iwema, Karsten H Jensen, Harald Kunstmann, Antonio Lidón, Majken Caroline Looms, Sascha Oswald, Andreas Panagopoulos, Amol Patil, Daniel Power, Corinna Rebmann, Nunzio Romano, Lena Scheiffele, Sonia Seneviratne, Georg Weltin, Harry Vereecken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Climate change increases the occurrence and severity of droughts due to increasing temperatures, altered circulation patterns, and reduced snow occurrence. While Europe has suffered from drought events in the last decade unlike ever seen since the beginning of weather recordings, harmonized long-term datasets across the continent are needed to monitor change and support predictions. Here we present soil moisture data from 66 cosmic-ray neutron sensors (CRNSs) in Europe (COSMOS-Europe for short) covering recent drought events. The CRNS sites are distributed across Europe and cover all major land use types and climate zones in Europe. The raw neutron count data from the CRNS stations were provided by 24 research institutions and processed using state-of-the-art methods. The harmonized processing included correction of the raw neutron counts and a harmonized methodology for the conversion into soil moisture based on available in situ information. In addition, the uncertainty estimate is provided with the dataset, information that is particularly useful for remote sensing and modeling applications. This paper presents the current spatiotemporal coverage of CRNS stations in Europe and describes the protocols for data processing from raw measurements to consistent soil moisture products. The data of the presented COSMOS-Europe network open up a manifold of potential applications for environmental research, such as remote sensing data validation, trend analysis, or model assimilation. The dataset could be of particular importance for the analysis of extreme climatic events at the continental scale. Due its timely relevance in the scope of climate change in the recent years, we demonstrate this potential application with a brief analysis on the spatiotemporal soil moisture variability. The dataset, entitled “Dataset of COSMOS-Europe: A European network of Cosmic-Ray Neutron Soil Moisture Sensors”, is shared via Forschungszentrum Jülich: (Bogena and Ney, 2021).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125–1151
Number of pages27
JournalEarth System Science Data
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

We thank TERENO (Terrestrial Environmental Observatories), funded by the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft for the
financing and maintenance of CRNS stations. We acknowledge financial support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG,
German Research Foundation) of the research unit FOR 2694 Cosmic Sense (grant no. 357874777) and by the German Federal Ministry of Education of the Research BioökonomieREVIER, Digitales
Geosystem – Rheinisches Revier project (grant no. 031B0918A).
COSMOS-UK has been supported financially by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (grant no. NE/R016429/1).
The Olocau experimental watershed is partially supported by
the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the research project TETISCHANGE (grant no. RTI2018-093717-BI00). The Calderona experimental site is partially supported by
the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the research projects CEHYRFO-MED (grant no. CGL2017-86839-
C3-2-R) and SILVADAPT.NET (grant no. RED2018-102719-T)
and the LIFE project RESILIENT FORESTS (grant no. LIFE17
CCA/ES/000063). The University of Bristol’s Sheepdrove sites
have been supported by the UK’s Natural Environment Research
Council through a number of projects (grant nos. NE/M003086/1,
NE/R004897/1, and NE/T005645/1) and by the International
Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations (grant no. CRP

Acknowledgements. We thank Peter Strauss and Gerhab Rab
from the Institute for Land and Water Management Research, Federal Agency for Water Management Austria, Petzenkirchen, Austria. We thank Trenton Franz from the School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United
States. We also thank Carmen Zengerle, Mandy Kasner, Felix Pohl,
and Solveig Landmark, UFZ Leipzig, for supporting field calibration, lab analysis, and data processing. We furthermore thank Daniel
Dolfus, Marius Schmidt, Ansgar Weuthen, and Bernd Schilling,
Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany. The COSMOS-UK project
team is thanked for making its data available to COSMOS-Europe.
Luca Stevanato is thanked for the technical details about the Finapp
sensor. The stations at Cunnersdorf, Lindenberg, and Harzgerode
have been supported by Falk Böttcher, Frank Beyrich, and Petra
Fude, German Weather Service (DWD). The Zerbst site has been
supported by Getec Green Energy GmbH and Jörg Kachelmann
(Meteologix AG). The CESBIO sites have been supported by the
CNES TOSCA program. The ERA5-Land data are provided by
ECMWF (Muñoz Sabater, 2021). The Jena dataset was retrieved
at the site of The Jena Experiment, operated by DFG research unit
FOR 1451.


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