Rogier van der Velde

dr. ir.

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Personal profile

Personal profile

My name is Rogier van der Velde and I am an assistant professor at the Water Resources department of the Faculty of ITC (University of Twente).

I obtained my MSc degree (2004) in Hydrology from Wageningen University. In this period I studied the effects of soil hydraulic functions on simulated soil water budgets, methods to calculate the reference evapotranspiration and SAR-based soil moisture remote sensing at the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory (HRSL) of the USDA-ARS in Beltsville, USA.

My PhD degree I received in 2010 from the University of Twente with a dissertation focused on soil moisture estimation from active microwave observations and the modelling of water and energy exchanges at the land-atmosphere interface. Soil moisture estimation at plot-scale, I applied to C- and L-band radar observations collected with a truck-mounted scatterometer deployed during a corn growth cycle. Envisat-ASAR have used to map soil moisture at regional-scale across the Naqu river basin on the Tibetan Plateau. The modelling of water and energy exchanges at land surface I have performed in the context of the Noah land surface model applied to a site on Tibetan Plateau.

In my post-PhD years I have continued to build on the earlier developed expertise. In addition, I have put considerable efforts to in-situ soil moisture monitoring by leading the development of the Naqu and Ngari monitoring networks on the Tibetan Plateau. Since 2015 I am responsible for the management of our monitoring network in the Twente region , which was selected as core international validation site for NASA’s SMAP (Soil Moisture Active/Passive) mission.

Over the years, my research interest has grown towards the development of Earth Observation applications for Regional Water Management. Via NWO-AES funded Optimizing Water Availability with Sentinel-1 Satellites (OWAS1S) project I contributed to this topic by investigating the added value of Sentinel-1 and SMAP soil moisture estimates for region water authorities. 

Research interests

My main research interest focuses on the creation of spatial soil moisture data using a variety of remote sensing techniques and its application for regional water management.

Keywords are: - Soil Moisture, - In-Situ Monitoring, - Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), - Microwave Radiometry, - Microwave Emission & Scattering modelling, - Land Surface Hydrodology


M-SE Q1: Climate Resilient Cities (15 EC, since 2018)

M-GEO Q2: Earth Observation for Water Resources (7 EC, since 2018)


Ten years profile soil moisture and temperature measurements in Twente (DANS-KNAW, 2020)

More information: Twente regional soil moisture monitoring network

Data Access: 10.17026/dans-zrn-n8nh

Optimizing Water Availability with Sentinel-1 Satellites (NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Science, 2015)

More information: OWAS1S 

Modelling Freeze-Thaw Processes with Active and Passive Microwave Observations (NWO User Support Space programme, 2014)

More information: SMAP Freeze-Thaw

 PhD-candidate supervision


  • Soil Moisture Estimation from Sentinel-1 SAR Observations by ir. Harm-Jan Benninga
  • Broadband Scatterometry for Monitoring Soil and Vegetation over a Tibetan Meadow by ir. Jan Hofste
  • Coordinating Earth Observation and In-situ data from Modelling Surface Water and Heat Budgets on the Tibetan Plateau by Pei Zhang (together with dr. D. Zheng)

Defended disserations:

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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