EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Surface soil moisture data assimilation for irrigation amounts and timing estimation in semi-arid regions

Nadia Ouaadi1,2, Lionel Jarlan2, Saïd Khabba1,3, Jamal Ezzahar3,4, and Olivier Merlin2
Nadia Ouaadi et al.
  • 1LMFE, Physicsdepartment, Faculty of Sciences Semlalia, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco (
  • 2CESBIO, University of Toulouse, IRD/CNRS/UPS/CNES, Toulouse, France
  • 3CRSA, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University UM6P, Ben Guerir, Morocco
  • 4MISCOM, National School of Applied Sciences, Cadi Ayyad University, Safi, Morocco

Irrigation is the largest consumer of water in the world, with more than 70% of the world's fresh water dedicated to agriculture. In this context, we developed and evaluated a new method to predict daily to seasonal irrigation timing and amounts at the field scale using surface soil moisture (SSM) data assimilated into a simple  land surface model through a particle filter technique. The method is first tested using in situ SSM before using SSM products retrieved from Sentinel-1. Data collected on different wheat fields grown  in Morocco, for both flood and drip irrigation techniques, are used to assess the performance of the proposed method. With in situ data, the results are good. Seasonal amounts are retrieved with R > 0.98, RMSE <42 mm and bias<2 mm. Likewise, a good agreement is observed at the daily scale for flood irrigation where more than 70% of the irrigation events are detected with a time difference from actual irrigation events shorter than 4 days, when assimilating SSM observation every 6 days to mimics Sentinel-1 revisit time. Over the drip irrigated fields, the statistical metrics are R = 0.70, RMSE =28.5 mm and bias= -0.24 mm for irrigation amounts cumulated over 15 days. The approach is then evaluated using SSM products derived from Sentinel-1 data; statistical metrics are R= 0.64, RMSE= 28.78 mm and bias = 1.99 mm for irrigation amounts cumulated over 15 days. In addition to irrigated fields, the applicationof the developed methodover rainfed fieldsdid not detect any irrigation. This study opens perspectives for the regional retrieval of irrigation amounts and timing at the field scale and for mapping irrigated/non irrigated areas.

How to cite: Ouaadi, N., Jarlan, L., Khabba, S., Ezzahar, J., and Merlin, O.: Surface soil moisture data assimilation for irrigation amounts and timing estimation in semi-arid regions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14594,, 2021.

Display materials

Display file

Comments on the display material

to access the discussion