iAqueduct Data Repository

(link to upload/download the data)


To address iAqueduct challenges, Table 1 lists the essential ecohydrological variables and parameters to be obtained or measured directly by means of various techniques from in situ, UAS, airborne, to satellite.

Table 1. Essential variables/parameters measured in iAqueduct observatories.

Variables/Parameters Targeted Research In Situ 1 UAS 2 Airborne 3 Satellite Missions 4
Precipitation Downscaling X     X
Air Temperature   X      
Air Pressure   X      
Humidity   X      
Wind speed/direction   X      
Four-component (and Net) Radiation   X     X5
Soil Heat Flux   X      
Evaporation/transpiration Downscaling       X
Runoff   X X    
Stream Flow   X      
Groundwater level   X      
Soil Properties (texture, hydraulic, thermal, etc.) Retrieval X X X X
Soil Moisture (surface, profile) Downscaling X X   X
Soil Temperature (surface, profile)   X X X X
Soil Freeze-Thaw (surface, profile)   X X X X
Snow Depth   X X X X
Snow Water Equivalent         X
Land Cover Types   X X   X
Vegetation Coverage   X X X X
Plantation Structure   X X    
Leaf Area Index   X X   X
Vegetation Structure Parameters (density, canopy height, crown diameter, etc.)   X X   X
Biomass (NPP and NEE)   X X X X
DEM     X   X
Laser altimetry     X   X
Reflectance (optical range) Energy balance and vegetation dynamics X X X X
Fluorescence (optical range)     X   X
Emittance (thermal range) Energy balance and temperature downscaling X X X X
Brightness temperature (microwave range) Soil moisture downscaling     X X
Backscattering coefficient (microwave range) Soil moisture downscaling       X

1 In Situ spatial resolution: 1cm to 5cm; temporal resolution: seconds to minutes, hours, and days. 2 UAS spatial resolution: 5cm to 15cm; temporal resolution: hours to days. 3 Airborne spatial resolution: 15cm −10m; temporal resolution: hours to days. 4 Satellite spatial resolution: 10 m–25 km; temporal resolution: days to weeks.5 Only Albedo, Land Surface Temperature


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6.1. Twente, the Netherlands (Temperate Maritime Climate) (one webpage)

Water safety and climate change have emerged as one of the first public concerns in the last years in the Twente area, the Netherlands. The major challenge is water management under climate change that needs to take into account periods of extremes, such as when it rains more and harder and when longer periods of drought persist, in maintaining the safeties and functionalities of the quays, dikes, weirs, and pumping stations. To meet this challenge, local and regional monitoring of the actual state of the water system and the anticipation of near future situations are needed. Agricultural water management requires, on the other hand, operational management of soil and water for adequate agricultural productions in the growth seasons at a field level. Other requirements are related to water quality management for nature conservation, including water treatments. A shortage of precipitation (i.e., precipitation minus potential evaporation) is used as a measure for water excess or shortage for the abovementioned tasks.

A regional soil moisture monitoring network has been installed since 2009 in the Twente region of The Netherlands, consisting of 20 stations continuously measuring soil moisture and soil temperature over an area of approximately 50 km × 40 km. The main objectives of Twente monitoring network are: i) To investigate the sensitivity of active and passive microwave data to surface parameters, such as soil moisture, soil temperature, and vegetation cover; ii) to run, calibrate, and validate new soil moisture retrieval algorithms; and iii) to study new approaches to upscale soil moisture information from the point to large scale.

The precipitation data are available at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). There are 15 KNMI stations measuring the precipitation in the area of the network since 1950 and the daily accumulated precipitation is available at http://www.knmi.nl/klimatologie/. According to the Koeppen Classification System, the climate in The Netherlands is a warm temperate humid climate (Cfb Climate). Other meteorological data are provided by KNMI at the Twente station located near Enschede. The precipitation is spread all over the year with an average of approximately 760 mm per year. The monthly average air temperature ranges between 3 °C in January to approximately 17 °C in July.

Detailed Land use map of Twente area are available as the Atlas of Overijssel by the Province of Overijssel (http://gisopenbaar.overijssel.nl/website/bodematlas/bodematlas.html). There are four main soil types in Twente: Sandy soils rich or poor of loam, loamy soils rich or poor of sand, man-made sandy thick earth soils, and peat soils covered by a layer of peat or sand. This information was retrieved from the soil maps (Bodemkaart van Nederland) by Stichting voor Bodemkartering (Wageningen) with a 1:50,000 scale and by Alterra, Wageningen UR (website www.bodemdata.nl). Groundwater monitoring data can be obtained from the Geological Survey of the Netherlands (TNO) (https://www.dinoloket.nl/en). Hydrological and water management information can be obtained at the water authority Vechtstromen (https://www.vechtstromen.nl/). The Twente SMST network serves as an SMOS and SMAP calibration and validation site.

6.2. Zala, Hungary (Cold, Humid Winter, Warm Summer) (one webpage)

One of the main threats in the catchment of Zala river is the more frequently occurring extreme weather events at the catchment. Information on the impact of potential future climate changes to water resources and possible management scenarios to adapt to future extreme weather events will be shared with the General Directorate of Water Management, the farmer organizations (e.g., AGRYA, Agrion Top Kft.) and public bodies (e.g., Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture, Zala County, Zala County Office of Agricultural and Rural Development Agency). At the catchment, it is also important to analyse how the transport of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides will change due to the extreme weather events. Recently, the amount of nitrate and pesticide in the groundwater at the catchment is close to the threshold value of groundwater pollution, and at a few plots, even exceeds it.

The catchment of river Zala in western Hungary belongs to the watershed of Lake Balaton. The catchment area of the Zala River is 2622 km2, it is situated in Zala Hills. Mean discharge of Zala is 5.6 m3 s−1. The climate is moderately warm, moderately humid, and the number of sunshine hours per year ranges between 1800 and 2000 h. The mean annual temperature of the region is about 10 ˚C. The average amount of rainfall is between 600 and 700 mm year−1.

In total, 37% of the total catchment area is arable land, which is much lower than the national average; 27% is forest, which exceeds the national average; 15% of the land is under grassland management; 5% is horticulture; 3% is pomiculture; 2% is viticulture; and 1% is reed management and fish farming. The “Kis-Balaton” nature conservation area, which is a wetland under protection of the Ramsar Convention habitat, is situated within the watershed of river Zala. The dominant soil types are Luvisols and Cambisols. Gleysols and Histosols occur in poorly drained valley bottoms.

Long-term data is available on water quantity and the water quality of Zala river, e.g., runoff, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids, and water temperature. The depth of the groundwater level and daily rainfall are registered at 39 locations at the catchment of Zala river. Soil moisture is monitored with a TDR/MUX/mpts meter (Easy Test) at two soil profiles till a 0.9-m depth at Vése and Keszthely since April 2018. Time series meteorological data for the sites is also available. Map of soil organic carbon content, texture, calcium-carbonate content, and pH (http://dosoremi.hu/table.html) are available at a 100-m resolution at six soil depths up to 2 m. Soil water content at saturation, field capacity, wilting point (https://www.mta-taki.hu/en/kh124765), and saturated hydraulic conductivity have been mapped at a 100-m resolution at three soil depths up to 0.90 m. For the mapping of soil properties, over 150 environmental parameters were collected to describe the topography, climate, parent material, state of vegetation, and land cover of the catchment.

6.3. Alento, Italy (Temperate, Dry Hot Summer) (one webpage)

This study area partly belongs to the “Cilento and Vallo di Diano” National Park, the largest national park in Italy, and is included as a representative site within the UNESCO-HELP program. The Alento River Catchment is usually split in the Upper Alento, a hilly and mountain marginal area that suffered from severe land abandonment and subsequent land-use changes, and the Lower Alento, characterized by a flourishing economy especially because of tourism along the entire coastline. A system of barrages, the largest being the “Piano della Rocca” earthen dam, were built and is managed by the “Velia” Bureau of Reclamation to increase irrigated agriculture and the quality of livestock methods, hence reducing the gap between the two parts of the catchment.

However, as in most water-stressed zones of the Mediterranean belt, this area is experiencing an excessive demand for water partly because of the competition among different users, which could yield conflicts among them, especially during summer. Decision-makers and stakeholders are now concerned about future benefits and constraints deriving from the changes observed in land uses and climate seasonality, and are therefore interested in addressing the following main issues: a) Predicting the storage capacity of the artificial reservoirs in view of projected climate and land-use changes so as to meet short- and medium-term water requirements from households, agriculture, tourism, and hydropower generation; b) promoting the most effective demand-side adaptation options; and c) identifying optimal land resource management to ensure adequate water availability to all sectors, reduce fire risk during the prolonged dry seasons, and, at the same time, alleviate natural hazards, such as flooding and soil erosion, during the wet season.

To meet these needs, the Alento River catchment is becoming a science-driven critical zone observatory (CZO), with a major aim of supporting the issues of rural environmental protection and sustainable management of natural resources. The “Alento” CZO not only relies on background geological, pedological, and hydrological studies carried out over the last decades but also benefits from a series of investigations currently underway in the Upper Alento catchment. Since 2016, wireless sensor networks (WSNs) and cosmic-ray neutron probes (CRNPs) monitor soil moisture in two small sub-catchments, named MFC2 and GOR1, having different topographic, pedological, and land-use characteristics as well as slightly different weather conditions.

More hydrologically oriented investigations have been carried out in three sub-catchments (MFC1, MFC2, and GOR1) of UARC, each with drainage areas ranging from 6 to 10 hectares. MFC1 is a small sub-catchment (area of about 5 ha) located near the village of Monteforte Cilento. This experimental area was subject to intense monitoring activities from 2006 to 2011. The MFC2 sub-catchment is situated near MFC1 and both represent typical farmland areas with olive orchards, vineyards, fruit trees and crops. A portion of MFC2 is planted with cherry and walnut trees for wood production only. Another sub-catchment, named GOR1, is instead located close to the rural village of Gorga and reflects a typical forested area with mixed chestnut and oak woods. Apart from their different land-use/land-cover features, the MFC2 and GOR1 test sites should also be viewed as representative of two different hydrogeological settings. On March 2016, the MFC2 and GOR1 sub-catchments were both instrumented with a wireless sensor network (WSN) and a cosmic-ray neutron probe (CRNP).

Each wireless sensor network (SoilNet, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany) comprises an array of 20 underground measuring nodes that are distributed in space to account for the local geomorphological and pedological features. The following sensors were embedded at the soil depths of 0.15 and 0.30 m of each node: i) GS3 sensor (METER, Pullman, WA, USA) to measure simultaneously soil permittivity (converted to soil moisture using empirical calibration equations), soil temperature, and soil electrical conductivity, and ii) MPS-6 sensor (METER, Pullman, WA, USA) to measure soil matric pressure head. In each of these sub-catchments, one cosmic-ray neutron probe (CRS2000/B, Hydroinnova LLC, Albuquerque, USA) complements the SoilNet sensor network by providing area-averaged soil moisture values over a footprint of approximately 7-14 ha. To our knowledge, these two cosmic-ray neutron probes are the first to be installed and operational since 2016 in a catchment of central/southern Italy. Streamflow gauging stations are operating at the outlet of both the MFC2 and GOR1 sub-catchments. One weather station in close proximity to each sub-catchment acquires rainfall, air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and net solar radiation (four-component net radiation sensors, Hukseflux Thermal Sensors, www.hukseflux.com) at hourly time-steps. Wind speed and air temperature are measured at about a 3-m height while solar radiation is measured at a 2-m height. At each weather station, three GS3 sensors and three MPS-6 sensors were installed at depths of 15, 30, and 45 cm.

6.4. Fiumarella of Corleto, Italy (Temperate, Hot Humid Summer) (one webpage)

Fiumarella of Corleto belongs to the Basilicata region that is characterized by a significant diversity in terms of climatic conditions. For instance, the mean annual rainfall ranges between 400 and 2000mm. Such variability reflects the regional hydrological patterns with areas affected by droughts and others that experience several floods and landslides. In this context, the study of river basin hydrology becomes critical from several points of view. The Fiumarella of Corleto is located in the water-rich part of the region that is crucial for the water supply of the region but also for the water supply of the Puglia region, which strongly relies on external resources for their agricultural and economical activities.

The experimental basin “Fiumarella of Corleto”, located in Basilicata region (southern Italy), is a tributary of the Sauro river (Agri basin) and has an area of 32.5 km2. It is situated in a sub-humid climatic zone with a mean annual rainfall of approximately 720 mm and characterized by hot-humid summers and chilly to mild winters. The interest towards this basin is due to its peculiarities. In fact, the two slopes of the catchment have different land uses: The slope on the left is covered mostly by forests, the slope on the right is covered by agricultural land. In order to characterize with a high level of details the morphology of the two slopes, a DSM of the basin at high-resolution (1 × 1 m) was derived with a LiDAR.

Catchment pedology was investigated through field campaigns and laboratory measurements aimed at identifying the main soil and units of the basin by Santini et al. (1999) and by Romano and Santini, 1997  and Romano and Palladino (2002). These data were reported in the land cover map elaborated by Carriero et al. (2007) to define the soil hydraulic properties of each unit.

Meteorological variables are monitored on both slopes with the aim to characterize differences between the two. Moreover, an additional rainfall station and streamflow gauge is placed at the basin outlet. Soil moisture is monitored on a transect of about 60 m with a sampling frequency of 1 h. The installed instrumental system consists of a TDR100 system connected to 22 probes located in 11 sampling sites at two different depths of 30 and 60 cm. The datalogger is a CR10X produced by Campbell Scientific that transmits the soil moisture values, elaborated by the TDR100, in real time via the GSM network.

6.5. Carraixet Creek, Spain (Semiarid, Steppe, Mediterranean) (one webpage)

Barranco del Carraixet (or Carraixet Creek) is located in the east coast of Spain, has a catchment area of 314 km2, draining directly to the Mediterranean Sea, with a natural park in the upper part of the basin and with anthropogenic pressures in the middle and low basin. The human effect is quite important in this study site: The lowlands are characterized by alternation of the urban and industrial zones and agricultural fields, while the upper part is frequently affected by wildfires and it is a highly frequented leisure zone, subject to multiple pressures (hunters, several outdoor sports, owners, etc.). The climate is semiarid Mediterranean, with a mean annual precipitation of around 400 mm highly variable and potential evapotranspiration of 1100 mm. The hydrology is characterized by low or absent base flow, typical of Mediterranean ephemeral streams. Urban and irrigation water demands are supplied by the aquifer, mainly recharged by the upper catchment. The actual trend of the catchment is towards forest expansion in abandoned lands of the upper part and urbanization in the lower part. The main concern in Carraixet Creek is to improve forest management in order to increase aquifer recharge, increase the forest health, and to better control soil erosion. For this project, we will consider the upper and medium parts of the catchment, with an area of 250 km2. Within this area, there is one experimental watershed of 1 km2 (with 3 meteorological stations, 1 cosmic ray, and 1 flowgauge) and 1 experimental forest plot heavily sensorized. At the catchment scale and operated by the Jucar Basin Water Authority, there is one additional flowgauge station and several raingauges and piezometric observations.

6.6. Kibbutz Sde Yoav and Afeka, Israel (Arid, Dry Hot Summer) (one webpage)

Kibbutz Sde Yoav is an agricultural settlement located in south-central Israel, between the cities of Ashkelon, Kyriat Gat, and Kyriat Malakhi. Like Sde Yoav, in Israel, there are several agricultural settlements that were created during the establishment of the state of Israel in order to ensure the food supply. In order to monitor the fields that sustain these settlements, farmers need chemical/physical analyses. However, traditional soil survey methods are expensive, time-consuming, and need high skilled professionals. Moreover, in order to represent these parameters spatially in these large agricultural fields, it is necessary to take several samples for a correct kriging methodology, and the measurements in question varies seasonally. Additionally, farmers cannot see the status of every point of interest in these fields with a common frequency.

Given the lack of rains and the dry climate of the region, water is a critical resource that is necessary to manage carefully. Remote sensing is a potential solution for this problem, because it can replace field chemical/physical measurements, and could monitor the infiltration rate in the fields of interest in a spatial scale.

Study sites for the estimation of water infiltration rate using surface spectra include not only Kibbutz Sde Yoav, and Afeka, Israel but also the Alento catchment. The idea is to create a dataset with infiltration rate measurements, with laboratory and field spectral measurements. The study sites from which we collected samples until now are the following:

  • Kibbutz Sde Yoav, Israel (30 Samples): Kibbutz Sde Yoav is an agricultural settlement located in south-central Israel, between the cities of Ashkelon, Kyriat Gat, and Kyriat Malakhi. According to a detailed map of the soils of Israel, the soil type of the study area of Kibbutz Sde Yoav is alluvial, and according to an updated version of the Koeppen climate classification [174], the climate of Sde Yoav is hot-semiarid (Bsh). In this study area, 30 samples were collected.
  • Afeta, Tel Aviv, Israel (18 Samples): Afeka is a residential neighborhood located in the north of Tel Aviv. The soil type of the study area of Afeka is brown-red sandy soil, and the climate according the classification of Rubel and Kottek, 2010 is hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa). From Afeka, we collected 18 samples. In Afeka, we only collected samples for the calibration of the model and to expand our dataset. We did not carry out UAS campaigns there because they are forbidden.

Alento, Italy (21 Samples): The Alento River Catchment is located in the Campania Region (Salerno Province, Italy). As in Afeka, the climate of Alento according the classification of Rubel and Kottek, 2010 is hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa). According to in the book “Soils of Italy”, Alento is located in an area characterized by three soil types: Cambisols, Leptosols, and Luvisols. In this book, Costantini and Dazzi remark that this area is characterized hills and mountains on limestones covered by volcanic ashes, including alluvial and coastal plains.