Sensitivity of near-infrared permanent laser scanning intensity for retrieving soil moisture on a coastal beach: Calibration procedure using in situ data

Valeria di Biase, Ramon F. Hanssen, Sander E. Vos

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Anthropogenic activities and climate change in coastal areas require continuous monitoring for a better understanding of environmental evolution and for the implementation of protection strate-gies. Surface moisture is one of the important drivers of coastal variability because it highly affects shoreward sand transport via aeolian processes. Several methods have been explored for measuring surface moisture at different spatiotemporal resolutions, and in recent years, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology has been investigated as a remote sensing tool for high-spatiotemporal-resolution moisture detection. The aim of the present study is the assessment of the performance of a permanent terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) with an original setting located on a high position and hourly scanning of a wide beach area stretching from a swash zone to the base of a dune in order to evaluate the soil moisture at a high spatiotemporal resolution. The reflectance of a Riegl-VZ2000 located in Noordwijk on the Dutch coast was used to assess a new calibration curve that allows the estimation of soil moisture. Three days of surveys were conducted to collect ground-truth soil moisture measurements with a time-domain reflectometry (TDR) sensor at 4 cm depth. Each in situ measurement was matched with the closest reflectance measurement provided by the TLS; the data were interpolated using a non-linear least squares method. A calibration curve that allowed the estimation of the soil moisture in the range of 0–30% was assessed; it presented a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 4.3% and a coefficient of determination (R-square) of 0.86. As an innovative aspect, the calibration curve was tested under different circumstances, including weather conditions and tidal levels. Moreover, the TDR data collected during an independent survey were used to vali-date the assessed curve. The results show that the permanent TLS is a highly suitable technique for accurately evaluating the surface moisture variations on a wide sandy beach area with a high spatiotemporal resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1645
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Calibration
  • Coastal monitoring
  • Soil moisture
  • Terrestrial laser scanning


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