CosmOz soil moisture monitoring network

by David McJannet (CSIRO)

Welcome to the last CosmOz newsletter for 2013. In this newsletter we introduce the newest probe to the network, and provide some information on recent publications and the upcoming COSMOS conference in Leipzig.


There have been a number of changes around the network with new probes being ordered and some of our original probes being relocated to new projects. Look out for a number of publications from the CosmOz team over the coming months as papers on network-wide calibration, recharge estimates, satellite soil moisture validation, and universal calibration are all currently in review. Also, check out the webpage for the COSMOS-UK who are setting up a network of probes across the United Kingdom. They have 5 probes installed and are looking to install another 25 in the new year.


Mineral Banks

Auro Almeida and team in Tasmania have purchased another cosmic-ray probe and have installed in at Mineral Banks in north-east Tasmania (Figure 1). This probe will form part of growing South Esk Hydrological Sensor Web.  The South Esk Hydrological Sensor Web is an open web-based data infrastructure that federates near real-time hydro-meteorological data collected by several organisations in the South Esk River catchment in NE Tasmania. The project started in July 2008 with the aim of better informing water managers about resource availability and water harvesting opportunities while also protecting environmental flows. The probe is Data is available online in near real-time.



Figure 1. Cosmic-ray probe at Mineral Banks (left) and approximate measurement footprint (right)


4th COSMOS Workshop

The 4th COSMOS Workshop will take place on 5-7 May 2014 in Leipzig, Germany.


The workshop will focus on:

·         progress and challenges of cosmic-ray neutron monitoring,

·         applications of the cosmic-ray probe to Earth Sciences and hydrology, including agriculture (e.g. monitoring irrigation), meteorology (e.g. weather forecasting), civil engineering (e.g. slope stability), and

·         the strategic development of global COSMOS network.


The main goal of the workshop is to gather scientists who are interested in the cosmic-ray method and its application, as well as representatives from international and national environmental research networks.


See the website for more details:



Publications list


·         Almeida, A., R. Dutta, A. Terhorst, C. Baillie, D. Worledge, P. Smethurst, (2013) Quantifying spatial distribution of soil moisture using a cosmic ray and capacitance sensor network, 12th IEEE Sensors Conference, Baltimore, USA, July 2013.

·         Dutta R, D’Este C (2013) Supervised machine learning based dynamic estimation of bulk soil moisture using cosmic ray sensor. International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology 2 (8):248-253

·         Dutta R, D’Este C (2013) Virtual Calibration of Cosmic Ray Sensor: Using Supervised Ensemble Machine Learning. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications 4 (8):104-110


Team from USA:

·         Franz TE, Zreda M, Ferre TPA, Rosolem R (2013) An assessment of the effect of horizontal soil moisture heterogeneity on the area-average measurement of cosmic-ray neutrons. Water Resour Res 49 (10):6450-6458.doi:10.1002/wrcr.20530

·         Ochsner, T.E., M.H. Cosh, R.H. Cuenca, W.A. Dorigo, C.S. Draper, Y. Hagimoto, Y.H. Kerr, E.G. Njoku, E.E. Small, and M. Zreda, 2013. State of the art in large-scale soil moisture monitoring. Soil Science Society of America Journal, doi: 10.2136/sssaj2013.03.0093.


Team from Germany:

·         Bogena HR, Huisman JA, Baatz R, Hendricks Franssen HJ, Vereecken H (2013) Accuracy of the cosmic-ray soil water content probe in humid forest ecosystems: The worst case scenario. Water Resour Res 49 (9):5778-5791. doi:10.1002/wrcr.20463




Merry Christmas



Dave McJannet and Aaron Hawdon

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