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Publication . Article . 2021

The International Soil Moisture Network: serving Earth system science for over a decade

Serving Earth system science for over a decade
W. Dorigo; I. Himmelbauer; D. Aberer; L. Schremmer; I. Petrakovic; L. Zappa; W. Preimesberger; +65 Authors
Open Access
Published: 09 Nov 2021 Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, volume 25, pages 5,749-5,804 (issn: 1027-5606, eissn: 1607-7938, Copyright policy )
Publisher: Copernicus Publications

In 2009, the International Soil Moisture Network (ISMN) was initiated as a community effort, funded by the European Space Agency, to serve as a centralised data hosting facility for globally available in situ soil moisture measurements (Dorigo et al., 2011b, a). The ISMN brings together in situ soil moisture measurements collected and freely shared by a multitude of organisations, harmonises them in terms of units and sampling rates, applies advanced quality control, and stores them in a database. Users can freely retrieve the data from this database through an online web portal (, last access: 28 October 2021). Meanwhile, the ISMN has evolved into the primary in situ soil moisture reference database worldwide, as evidenced by more than 3000 active users and over 1000 scientific publications referencing the data sets provided by the network. As of July 2021, the ISMN now contains the data of 71 networks and 2842 stations located all over the globe, with a time period spanning from 1952 to the present. The number of networks and stations covered by the ISMN is still growing, and approximately 70 % of the data sets contained in the database continue to be updated on a regular or irregular basis. The main scope of this paper is to inform readers about the evolution of the ISMN over the past decade, including a description of network and data set updates and quality control procedures. A comprehensive review of the existing literature making use of ISMN data is also provided in order to identify current limitations in functionality and data usage and to shape priorities for the next decade of operations of this unique community-based data repository.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Dewey Decimal Classification: ddc:550

ACM Computing Classification System: ComputingMilieux_MISCELLANEOUS

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Data set Information repository Reference database Computer science World Wide Web Quality control Scope (project management) Earth system science


Technology, T, Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering, TD1-1066, Geography. Anthropology. Recreation, G, Environmental sciences, GE1-350, ITC-ISI-JOURNAL-ARTICLE, ITC-GOLD, [SDE]Environmental Sciences, soil moisture, remote sensing, in situ, global scale, Science & Technology, Physical Sciences, Geosciences, Multidisciplinary, Water Resources, Geology, LAND DATA ASSIMILATION, WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORK, ANTECEDENT WETNESS CONDITIONS, SMOS BRIGHTNESS TEMPERATURE, IN-SITU MEASUREMENTS, CONSECUTIVE DRY DAYS, HEIHE RIVER-BASIN, LEAF-AREA INDEX, AMSR-E, SPATIAL VARIABILITY

Funded by
Global Earth Observation for integrated water resource assessment
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 603608
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | ENV
GROW Observatory
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 690199
  • Funding stream: H2020 | IA