eartH2Observe – Global Earth Observation for integrated water resource assessment

Fig.: Schematic overview of the foreseen integration of (EO) data sets, models and human influences in the Water Cycle Integrator for the eartH2Observe data portal.

EartH2Observe “Global Earth Observation for Integrated Water Resource Assessment” is a collaborative project funded under the DG Research FP7 programme. The project begun in January 2014 and will run for 4 years, until the end of 2017. The overall objective is to contribute to the assessment of global water resources through the use of new Earth Observation datasets and techniques. For this purpose, the project will integrate available earth observations, in-situ datasets and models, to construct a consistent global water resources reanalysis dataset of sufficient length (at least 30 years). The resulting datasets will be made available through an open Water Cycle Integrator data portal: the European contribution to the GEOSS/WCI approach. The datasets will be downscaled for application in case-studies at regional and local levels, and optimized based on identified European and local needs supporting water management and decision making.

Project goals

The EartH2Observe objective has been divided and refined in 7 specific objectives to be pursued along the course of the project:

  1. Validate EO products based on end-user needs and metrics ensuring the value of the project’s final datasets for local and regional decision making.
  2. Test new EO parameters and data sources in order to improve monitoring capabilities in terms of resolution and reliability and to explore techniques for synergetic use of datasets from multiple satellite missions.
  3. Integrate in-situ data on groundwater, surface water, water quality, soil moisture, precipitation and evaporation with EO-driven models resulting in a model and multi-data global water resources reanalysis.
  4. Assess error propagation through large scale water resource modelling, using in-situ data from data-rich validation sites, in order to improve EO datasets and to be able to provide the project’s datasets to end-users together with their associated error characteristics.
  5. Develop a global reanalysis of water resources that supports efficient water management and decision making by boosting the availability of information on freshwater resources worldwide.
  6. Demonstrate the usefulness of the integrated water resources time series at the operational level in regional and local case studies.
  7. Ensure the results will become part of the GEOSS Data-CORE encyclopedia, connecting to the GEOSS Water Cycle Integrator (WCI) initiatives and openly providing and sharing the datasets developed in the project.



EartH2Observe is a European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) project


Project duration

  • January 2014 – December 2017

Official project URL


  • Stichting Deltares
  • European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)
  • Universiteit Utrecht (UU)
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
  • Innovative Technologies Centre S.A (ITC)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO-IHE)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Joint Research Centre (JRC)
  • Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
  • PML Applications Ltd (PML)
  • GISAT s.r.o.
  • Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (USC)
  • Universität Kassel (UNI KASSEL)
  • Sapienza University of Rome (SUR)
  • Stichting VU-VUmc (VUA)
  • Ambiotek CIC (Ambiotek)
  • Tartu Ülikool (TUT)
  • Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT)
  • National University of Colombia (NUC)
  • I-mage
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • GNS Science, Te Pü Ao (GNS)
  • Institute for Water Modelling (IWM)
  • Observatori de l'Ebre (OdE)
  • International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA)

CLIMERS members involved

Project Highlights

  • Development of novel error characterization strategies for remotely sensed soil moisture
    • Gruber, A., Su, C.-H., Zwieback, S., Crow, W., Dorigo, W., Wagner, W., 2016. Recent advances in (soil moisture) triple collocation analysis. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Advances in the Validation and Application of Remotely Sensed Soil Moisture - Part 1 45, 200–211. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2015.09.002
  • Development of a novel merging scheme for satellite soil moisture
  • Release of the ESA CCI SM v03.2 data set