Available soil moisture and vegetation health and abundancy are strongly connected. Monitoring and understanding this connection helps us to estimate the impact of climate change and adaptation strategies on ecosystem services, and to improve soil, water and vegetation management for agricultural purposes and disaster early warning.

Soil moisture and vegetation optical depth (VOD) (which measures vegetation water content as indicator for vegetation health and abundancy) can both be derived from satellite-based microwave measurements. Unfortunately, these measurements inevitably contain gaps, are inconsistent between different satellite sensors, and their errors are poorly characterized. To overcome these issues, land surface models can be used to obtain physically consistent and gap free estimates of soil moisture and vegetation (and many other land surface variables).

CONSOLIDATION will, for the first time, combine multiple satellite-based surface soil moisture and VOD products with land surface model simulations via data assimilation. This way we will obtain long-term, consistent, gap-free and high-resolution estimates of global soil and vegetation water dynamics. These support both climate analyses and short-term local soil, water and vegetation management.

[Translate to English:] Schematic overview of the CONSOLIDATION project structure


FWF (Austrian Science Fund), opens an external URL in a new window

Project duration

July 2020 – June 2024


KU Leuven (BE), opens an external URL in a new window


Construct a VOD observation operator for the VOD assimilation
Error-characterize VOD observations
Long-term VOD assimilation into land surface model with dynamic vegetation
Joint assimilation of VOD and soil moisture (in cooperation with KU Leuven)
Assessment of long-term dynamics of soil and vegetation water and their interactions

CLIMERS staff involved

Wouter Dorigo, opens an external URL in a new window
Nicolas Bader, opens an external URL in a new window