The main outcomes of this project will be:
- Improved performance of the point-scale soil moisture sensors, with the possibility of certification according to newly established standards under laboratory conditions;
- Increased uptake and improved interoperability of the soil moisture measurement devices in agriculture and hydrology, thanks to the improved comparability and reliable estimates of uncertainty;
- Increased uptake of the CRNS methodology in emerging and future hydrological and meteorological/climatological soil moisture networks, thanks to the provided recommendations on networks design and validation practices;
- Increased use of soil moisture data for monitoring and modelling, thanks to their better understood uncertainties, sensing volumes and improved comparability across scales and methodologies; overall, the improvements will lead to better consulting to policy makers.
The main expected impacts of this project are:
- Scientific: Validated measurements of soil moisture can be transferred to real world, outdoor conditions due to new standards and SI-traceable methods, enabling reliable high-quality data for hydrological, meteorological/climatological observations and subsequent modelling.
- Economic and Technological: Benefits on agricultural and farming production in terms of optimisation of irrigation plans to achieve higher crop yields while reducing the water waste and associated costs (energy and labour), with increased water availability. Benefits on hydro-meteorological agencies and agrometeorology through reduction in maintenance costs for automated networks.
- Societal: Better soil moisture data (e.g., with better known uncertainties) available over multiple scales, for policy decisions such as improved water management, and weather and climate forecasting. More efficient use of freshwater in agriculture, thanks to improved soil moisture monitoring on field/intermediate scale. Better understanding of the role of soil moisture in the global sector of climate change observation and mitigation.