Irrigation is the most important human intervention on the water cycle, accounting for 70% of water withdrawals globally. The impact of irrigation on the water and energy cycles is largely unknown, mainly due to the absence of knowledge of actual irrigation volumes. Only little information is available, either for very small areas (e.g., experimental farms) or aggregated at country scale based on statistical surveys.

To address the problem, some recent studies have suggested the exploitation of microwave observations derived from space-borne sensors to identify the extent (where), the timing (when), and the amount of water used (how much) for irrigation. The CLIMERS group is addressing this challenging task from the local to the continental scale by means of carious remotely sensed soil moisture products in synergy with other datasets and models.