A New Approach Towards Large Scale Soil Moisture Mapping by Radio Waves

  • Christof Huebner
  • Christoph Kottmeier
  • Alexander Brandelik
Original Paper


A new approach for obtaining integrated estimates of soil moisture content over larger regions of typically 10–50 km is described. It is based on a known correlation between propagation characteristics of low frequency radio surface waves and surface soil moisture, and provides valuable new benefits especially for meteorological prognostic models and for soil water estimation in agriculture. The paper consists of (1) a description of the theory of radio wave propagation with an extension of the classical theory of Norton (Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers, Vol. 24, 1936), specifically the exploitation of the phase information, (2) demonstration of a method which guarantees the selection of reliable results from a large measurement data set, (3) a presentation of a new low cost measurement device to detect the amplitude and phase changes, and (4) results from initial measurements providing evidence that theoretical calculations are consistent with the measured change of electromagnetic signal properties due to soil moisture change.


Soil moisture Radio wave propagation Surface wave Large scale sensing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christof Huebner
    • 1
  • Christoph Kottmeier
    • 2
  • Alexander Brandelik
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Industrial Data Processing and CommunicationUniversity of Applied Sciences MannheimMannheimGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Meteorology and Climate ResearchKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

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