Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 61–79, 2018
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 61–79, 2018

  11 Jan 2018

11 Jan 2018

The Raam regional soil moisture monitoring network in the Netherlands

Harm-Jan F. Benninga1, Coleen D. U. Carranza2, Michiel Pezij3, Pim van Santen4, Martine J. van der Ploeg2, Denie C. M. Augustijn3, and Rogier van der Velde1 Harm-Jan F. Benninga et al.
  • 1Department of Water Resources, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, 7500 AE Enschede, the Netherlands
  • 2Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
  • 3Water Engineering and Management, Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, 7500 AE Enschede, the Netherlands
  • 4Waterschap Aa en Maas, 5216 PP `s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands

Abstract. We have established a soil moisture profile monitoring network in the Raam region in the Netherlands. This region faces water shortages during summers and excess of water during winters and after extreme precipitation events. Water management can benefit from reliable information on the soil water availability and water storing capacity in the unsaturated zone. In situ measurements provide a direct source of information on which water managers can base their decisions. Moreover, these measurements are commonly used as a reference for the calibration and validation of soil moisture content products derived from earth observations or obtained by model simulations. Distributed over the Raam region, we have equipped 14 agricultural fields and 1 natural grass field with soil moisture and soil temperature monitoring instrumentation, consisting of Decagon 5TM sensors installed at depths of 5, 10, 20, 40 and 80 cm. In total, 12 stations are located within the Raam catchment (catchment area of 223 km2), and 5 of these stations are located within the closed sub-catchment Hooge Raam (catchment area of 41 km2). Soil-specific calibration functions that have been developed for the 5TM sensors under laboratory conditions lead to an accuracy of 0.02 m3 m−3. The first set of measurements has been retrieved for the period 5 April 2016–4 April 2017. In this paper, we describe the Raam monitoring network and instrumentation, the soil-specific calibration of the sensors, the first year of measurements, and additional measurements (soil temperature, phreatic groundwater levels and meteorological data) and information (elevation, soil physical characteristics, land cover and a geohydrological model) available for performing scientific research. The data are available at

Short summary
Soil moisture is a central hydrological state variable. We set up a soil moisture and soil temperature profile monitoring network of 15 stations, distributed over the 495 km2 Raam region. The Raam catchment faces dry and wet periods, which both have implications for agricultural and regional water management. The measurements at 5 cm depth provide a reference for soil moisture retrievals from earth observations, while the measurements at deeper layers enable investigation of root zone processes.