Laboratory spectroscopy experiment: Spectral reflectance of beach sand as function of surface moisture content with sample of beach sand collected from the Sand Motor, the Netherlands

  • C. Nolet (Creator)
  • P.P.J. Roosjen (Creator)



Spectral reflectance of beach sand (350-2500 nm) under different moisture conditions at 1 nm interval, obtained by a laboratory spectroscopy experiment.
Optical remote sensing has the potential to measure surface moisture at a high spatio-temporal resolution. It is based on the principle that wet sand appears darker than dry sand: it is less reflective. The goals of this study are (1) to measure and model reflectance under controlled laboratory conditions as function of wavelength ( ) and surface moisture ( ) over the optical domain of 350–2500 nm, and (2) to explore the implications of our laboratory findings for accurately mapping the distribution of surface moisture under natural conditions. A laboratory spectroscopy experiment was conducted to measure spectral reflectance (1 nm interval) under different surface moisture conditions using beach sand. A non-linear increase of reflectance upon drying was observed over the full range of wavelengths. Two models were developed and tested. The first model is grounded in optics and describes the proportional contribution of scattering and absorption of light by pore water in an unsaturated sand matrix. The second model is grounded in soil physics and links the hydraulic behaviour of pore water in an unsaturated sand matrix to its optical properties.
Date made available9 Feb 2015
PublisherWageningen UR
Geographical coverageThe Netherlands


  • hydraulic engineering

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