Topic outline

  • A Climate Data Record of Soil moisture in the root zone

    Webinar with David Fairbairn (ECMWF; H SAF) and Christine Traeger Chatterjee (EUMETSAT)

    16 June 2021, 12:00 UTC with feedback session on Monday, 21 June at 12:00 UTC - Join on Monday

    Environmental (e.g. floods, droughts) and weather prediction systems rely on an accurate representation of soil moisture (SM). The availability of moisture in the root zone of plants is critical and especially in recent years has become an issue in large areas of Europe, as a series of dry summers have been experienced.

    As an H SAF partner ECMWF is producing scatterometer-derived root zone SM. In this short course you will learn about the retrieval approach and the strengths and limitations of the climate data record. You will also have the chance to explore the data yourself in a hands-on session.

    Session recordings:

    • A Climate Data Record of Soil moisture in the root zone (David Fairbairn, H SAF/ECMWF)

    • Plotting soil moisture maps, calculating anomalies, retrieving time series and trends using the CM SAF R Toolbox (Steffen Kothe, CM SAF/DWD)

    Joining the session on Monday, 21 June

    Monday, 21 June 2021 - Feedback session starting 12:00 UTC - JOIN HERE

    • A tour through participant's results on padlet
    • Q&A

    During the session we will be using Slido for Q&A. Go to and use #EUMSC16 or click here. No log in required. You can join Slido from your phone.

  • Self-paced hands-on part (16 -21 June)

    We invite you to download the data and explore it in your own time. Post your results on this Padlet board. We meet on Monday, 21 June to discuss results. Join us Monday.


    We prepared some soil moisture data for you to play with during the hands-on part (soil wetness index for Europe, Jan 1992 - Dec 2020, 28 - 100 cm depth): download the data

    Suggested Tools

    To work with the data you may want to use the CM SAF R Toolbox. Further information on this software is in the recording of the webinar (see above) and on the page of a short course on the CM SAF R Toolbox.

    If you would like to compare the satellite product with in situ measurements you may have available, you could use the software tool R-Instat. Instructions on how to do the comparison are available on the page of a short course on R-Instat.

    What you could do:

    For a select a region of interest covered by the prepared data (within Europe, bounding box: lon: - 20 to 40; lat 35 - 60)

    • choose a time step and plot a map
    • calculate the anomaly of a month, season or year of interest and plot the anomaly map
    • select a location and plot the time series, including the trend

    All the steps have been shown in Steffen's presentation (see second recording above or watch here) during the webinar. Further supporting material is available on the page of a short course on the CM SAF R Toolbox.

    You may also want to play with R-Instat and compare the satellite based soil moisture with in situ measurements you may have available.

  • More on EUMETSAT training

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