CosmOz update

by Dave McJannet and Aaron Hawdon, CSIRO

It has been a while since the last update from the CosmOz network but we are back to tell you about  our latest progress. The network is continuing to grow and we are looking at several new applications of the cosmic-ray probe technique. In this newsletter we give an update on the 4th COSMOS workshop which was held recently in Leipzig, Germany and introduce our newest probe. We also give a brief summary of two new journal papers published from the CosmOz network. Remember you can read about CosmOz here and see our data and growing network here.

 4th COSMOS Workshop

The 4th COSMOS Workshop took place on 5-7 May 2014 in Leipzig, Germany. Presentations were given from networks located in the US, Germany, China, UK, Morocco, South Africa and, of course, Australia. Richard Silberstein (CSIRO Perth) presented on the status of the CosmOz network and on the potential to use cosmic-ray probes to inform estimation of recharge in an unconfined groundwater system. Tom Denmead (CSIRO Canberra) presented some results comparing scales of measurement of soil moisture and evaporation from the new Temora site (see below). Trenton Franz (Uni. Nebraska) presented results from work co-authored with David McJannet on testing of approaches to making mobile cosmic-ray soil moisture estimates. Presentations will be uploaded on the workshop website soon (


A CosmOz site has now been established at the Temora research station (Figure 1) which is about 90 km north of Wagga Wagga. This site has been the focus of a major investment in monitoring infrastructure which will benefit from the information provided by the cosmic ray probe. Current monitoring at the site includes TDR probes, neutron moisture meter access tubes, a scintillometer, shuttle collectors for nitrogen gas measurements, and eddy covariance for energy fluxes. Some very interesting data has been collected and some was presented at the recent COSMOS workshop in Germany. The probe is Data is available online in near real-time.


Figure 1. Cosmic-ray probe at Temora


CosmOz papers

Hawdon, A., D. McJannet, and J. Wallace (2014), Calibration and correction procedures for cosmic-ray neutron soil moisture probes located across AustraliaWater Resour. Res.50(6), 5029-5043

 This paper outlines the correction and calibration procedures that are applied to all cosmic-ray probes in the CosmOz network. It summarises the properties of all probes and provides a valuable resource for future CosmOz papers to refer to.

 McJannet, D., T. Franz, A. Hawdon, D. Boadle, B. Baker, A. Almeida, R. Silberstein, T. Lambert, and D. Desilets (2014), Field testing of the universal calibration function for determination of soil moisture with cosmic-ray neutronsWater Resour. Res.,50(6), 5235-5248

 This paper presents the first testing of a theoretical approach to estimating soil moisture while making mobile cosmic-ray soil moisture measurements (i.e. from a car).

 Other recent publications

Desilets, D., and M. Zreda, 2014: Cosmic-ray hydrometrology: Measuring soil moisture with cosmic-ray neutrons, in E. Njoku, ed., Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing: Springer Reference, Berlin Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag.

Dong, J., T. E. Ochsner, M. Zreda, M. H. Cosh, and C. B. Zou (2014), Calibration and Validation of the COSMOS Rover for Surface Soil Moisture Measurement, Vadoze Zone Journal, 13(4), -, doi: 10.2136/vzj2013.08.0148.

Han, X., R. Jin, X. Li, and S. Wang (2014), Soil Moisture Estimation Using Cosmic-Ray Soil Moisture Sensing at Heterogeneous Farmland, Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, IEEE, 11(9), 1659-1663, doi: 10.1109/lgrs.2014.2314535.


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