Research Projects

This page summarizes the ongoing projects and the completed projects conducted at the IFCWS.

Ongoing Projects

HiDRATE (2023-2027) : integrating High resolution Data from Remote sensing And land surface model for Transpiration and Evaporation mapping ; ANR/FNR ; PI : Gilles BOULET, Kanishka MALLICK

The HiDRATE project aims to estimate the space/time subcomponents of evapotranspiration  (namely: soil evaporation E and transpiration T) using high resolution remote sensing data in several spectral domains. The objectives are 1 to set up a database combining in-situ measurements (sapflow, eddycovariance, microlysimeters, in-situ remote sensing) and simulations using reference radiative transfer and soil-plant-atmosphere exchange models (SCOPE, DART, SiSPAT) for the various project sites (Germany, France, Tunisia, India); 2- To analyse the predominant explanatory factors governing the E/T partition for different levels of water stress, and the potential for proxidetection measurements to represent them; 3- To develop the SPARSE energy balance model in such a way as to add other remote sensing constraints to the one operated by the ‘surface temperature’ information alone.

Laboratories involved : CESBIO, LIST, HSM, URFM, IISc, IITB

Nutrilift (2021-2026) : Role of perennial vegetation as a « nutrient lift » within the critical zone ; ANR AAPG ; PI : Jean RIOTTE

The objective of this project is to quantify the nutrient uplift and redistribution in a forest ecosystem (Mule Hole) and in two agrosystems (Berambadi), including agroforestry and irrigated agriculture, all located in the Kabini CZO/ SNO M-TROPICS. These systems represent a decreasing gradient of interactions between the lower and upper parts of the Critical Zone. For this, we aim at developing a new methodology involving several scientific disciplines, combining direct measurements of nutrient availability by depth, roots characterization and dynamics, detailed quantification of nutrient uptake that will be used in an integrated hydro-eco-geochemical mode.

(2024-2026) : Can Sediment Application over cultivated fields be one of the potential sustainable solutions for soil security? ; Fond de Dotation Roulier ; PI : C. GOMEZ

India is highlighted as one of the most risk-prone countries for water scarcity, declining soil fertility through land degradation and climate change impacts. A traditional “tank system”, composed of cascades of reservoirs along valleys, has been used for centuries not only to harvest water for irrigation but also to trap sediments to limit erosion losses at the catchment scale by restoring tank-trapped sediments to agricultural fields. While this latter practice used to be mostly limited to fields in the vicinity of tanks, the recent development of motorization and governments-implemented vast programs of tanks desilting have given this age-old practice a new momentum. Moreover, while the primary objective of tank desilting is to increase the water storage capacity of these tanks, a few studies in India have demonstrated the interest of returning tank silt to agricultural fields, as it might improve soil fertility, increasing soil water holding capacity, organic carbon or available nutrient status. This projet proposes a deeper understanding of this practice which would provide guidelines to farmers, and so would support this practice in useful and sustainable ways. It would finally help to determine if it represents a sustainable solution for soil security, like biochar, compost, or volcanic ashes.

MonStockDo (2023-2025) : Monitoring of Agricultural Blue Water Stocks in Cultivated Environments ; CNES-TOSCA ; PI : C. GOMEZ

Agricultural reservoirs are artificial structures designed for surface or groundwater storage, often of small capacity. These reservoirs serve various purposes such as water storage for irrigation, sediment trapping, groundwater recharge, among others. Although these reservoirs represent relatively low stored volumes on a territorial scale, they are often considered a potential solution for adapting agriculture to increasing aridity. One challenge is understanding the diverse hydrological dynamics of reservoirs within the same area. Given the large number and small size of these structures, making comprehensive in-situ monitoring impractical, remote sensing data offers the opportunity to track water surfaces of reservoirs across an entire area, potentially addressing this challenge. The MonStockDo project aims to evaluate Sentinel-2 and Venµs data for spatial monitoring of blue water stock within small agricultural reservoirs in three study sites: the Lebna Watershed (210 km2) in Tunisia, the Berambadi Watershed (84 km2) in India, and the Hérault Basin in France, each having diverse usage contexts, management practices, and contrasting hydrological cycles.

TransIndianDairy (2021-2024) : agroecological TRANSition of INDIAN DAIRY systems : a focus on institutional change ; ANR JCJC ; PI : Marie DERVILLE

The project TransIndianDairy aims at understanding the role of technical, organisational, and institutional innovations in driving agroecological transition of Indian dairy systems. We hypothesise that institutional innovations are central for triggering evolutions of stakeholders’ thinking and acting (institutional change), which will enable an evolution of the management of productive resources and / or of their configuration (structural change).

(2018-2024) : Multiple Isotope Fingerprints to Identify Sources and Transport of pesticides in the tropics ; AIEA CRT ; PI : M. SEKHAR, L. RUIZ

TRISHNA Ecosystem Stress (2022-) : Thermal infRared Imaging Satellite for High-resolution Natural Resource Assessment – Ecosystem Stress ; CNES-TOSCA ; PI : Gilles BOULET

The Indian and French Space Agencies, ISRO and CNES, have conceptualized a space-borne Thermal Infrared Reflectance (TIR) mission, TRISHNA, to be launched in 2026. Its main objective is to monitor the evapotranspiration and the water stress of the vegetation. Assessing evapotranspiration and furthermore Gross and Net Primary Productivity (GPP and NPP) will in turn assist in quantifying water use in rainfed and irrigated agriculture, water stress and water use efficiency, with expected applications to agricultural drought and early warning, crop yield prediction, water allocation, implementation of water rights, crop insurance business and agro-advisories to farmers. TRISHNA ES aims at 1- defining the algorithms behind the daily evapotranspiration products, 2- organize the calibration and the validation of those products and 3- prepare for the scientific and operational use of those products.

Laboratories involved : CESBIO, LIST, HSM, URFM, ISBA, ISRO SAC, IISc, IITB

Completed Projects

SMARA (2022-2023) ; CNES

The objective of the SMARA project is to evaluate the potential of the very high spatial and temporal resolution of VENμS to characterize surface landscape properties related to agriculture and water resources in semi-arid and tropical agrosystems: agricultural practices, land use, surface water storage and soil surface moisture and water stress.The project is dedicated to two contrasting and complementary contexts characterized by high spatio-temporal variability of surface landscape properties: the Berambadi watershed in Karnataka (India) and the Merguellil floodplain near Kairouan and Lebna in Tunisia.

IndiaBio (2020-2023) : Meta-transitions towards organic agriculture in two Indian States; Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim ; INRAE METABIO ; PI : Claire AUBRON

IndiaBio is an exploratory project that seeks to develop a first characterisation of Indian transitions towards agroecology, which will serve as a basis for a more ambitious project that compares several regions in the world. To do this, the project team has combined disciplines and scales of analysis to carry out the five following tasks: (1) a technical characterisation and assessment of the transition from the farmers’ perspective at the territorial scale; (2) an analysis of the evolution of flows of matter and energy induced by the transition at the territorial scale; (3) a multi-scale analysis of the governance of the transition; (4) bioeconomic modelling of a full state-wide transition; (5) comparison of the transitions, dissemination of results and contribution to the Metabio meta-programme.

DELTA (2018-2023) : Deltas undER gLobal impacT of chAnge ; ANR JCJC ; PI : M. BECKER

(2018-2023) : Landscapes and Waterscapes in Asia Monsoon, Climatic Anomalies and Societal Dynamics in Medieval India ; ANR JCJC ; PI : M. CASILE

ATCHA (2017-2022) : Accompanying The adaption of irrigated agriculture to climate CHAnge ; ANR ; PI : Laurent RUIZ

The ATCHA project aimed to accompany the adaptation of farming systems to climate change by combining an integrated biophysical model with a participatory approach in a network of experimental watersheds in the Karnataka state.

NUNDERGROUND (2019-2022) : Nutrient transfers through groundwater in India ; CEFIPRA ; PI : D. CARDINAL, VVSS SARMA

This project had 4 objectives : (1) Identify external (natural and anthropogenic) sources of macronutrients and carbon in Indian groundwater (GW), (2) Characterize the groundwater processes that contribute to and modify their nutrient content, (3) Identify the fate of macronutrients in GW – and if possible, estimate nutrient fluxes to estuaries and/or the coastal ocean and to the atmosphere as greenhouse gasses (GHGs), (4) Understand the seasonal and regional variability of these transfers along gradients of land use, lithology, and climate.

EUSOP (2019-2022) : Evaluation of Uncertainties affecting estimations of SOil Properties by VNIR-SWIR remoet sensing data ; PNTS ; PI : Cécile GOMEZ

The project EUSOP proposed an analysis of uncertainties of soil properties estimations obtained from VNIR/SWIR remote sensing data. The project planned to analyze the uncertainties affecting soil properties estimations in regard to:

  • the acquisition conditions: sensitivity of soil properties estimations, to the soil moisture, bare soil surface coverage…
  • the atmospheric correction models: sensitivity of soil properties estimations to the atmospheric corrections software (ATREM, FLAASH, ATCOR…) and atmospheric correction parameters software (elevation of sensor, elevation of study area, ozone column…).

The expected outputs of this project were i) a better understanding of the factors affecting soil properties estimations (soil moisture, solar light, number of calibration soil samples, ozone column …) and ii) a production of uncertainties maps associated to soil properties mapping over the study areas, which could be both further used in land resource management tools developed in connected projects (i.e., ANR ATCHA project).

(2019-2022) : Heterogeneity of regolith properties using combined geophysics & geochemistry ; EQUIPEX CRITEX internal call ; PI : Jean RIOTTE, Laurent RUIZ, H. Robain

The aim of this project was to assess the impact of the spatial variability of regolith properties on agricultural production and water balance at the watershed scale.Soil properties, saprolite thickness and fracture locations and density in the bedrock will be determined at the scale of the Berambadi catchment using a unique combination of geophysical techniques that include Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT), seismic, Control Source Audio-Magneto-Telluric (CS-AMT), Spectral induced Polarization (SIP) at both wet and dry seasons.This dataset, unique in India, will be used, thanks to the extensive field and remote sensing information already available in the Kabini CZ, to assess the sensitivity of the integrated model NAMASTE (Robert et al., 2018a) to the spatial variability of regolith properties under various climate and agriculture scenarios.

(2018-2022) : Nutrient Transfers through groundwater in India ; MAE/DST CEFIPRA ; PI : D. CARDINAL, VVSS SHARMA

ERODE (2020-2021) : Effective ROoting DEpth in a dry tropical forest : Mole Hole, India ; INSU/EC2CO ; PI : Jean RIOTTE

The project, focused on the experimental watershed of Mule Hole (SNO M-TROPICS), aimed at (1) developing a new dendrochronology method for the 4 dominant tree species using laser ablation, (2) applying the modeling framework to the produced yearly growth time-series from dendrochronology, (3) using these data for modelling the effect of deep root uptake on weathering processes in the deep critical zone by combining the COMFORT model and the water-rock interaction model WITCH.

AltiKest (2017-2021) : AltiKa for estuaries and near-shore ocean ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : F. DURAND, S. CALMANT, F. PAPA, S. ISLAM, V. VENUGOPAL

MEERENDA (2017-2020) : Microwave remote sEnsing for watEr Resources managEment iN berambaDi wAtershed ; CNRS PICS ; PI : M. ZRIBI

(2017-2020) : Developing a new methodology for farm scale soil moisture estimation using radar-only model parameters modified using scattering power decomposition methods ; SAC-ISRO ; PI : M. SEKHAR

PACMEDY (2017-2020) : PAlaeo-Constraints on Monsoon Evolution and Dynamics ; BELMONT-ANR ; PI : P. BRACONNOT

(2017-2019) : Detection and Characterization of irrigated cultures from satellite images : Berambadi experimental watershed in India ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : S. CORGNE

(2017-2019) : Detection & characterization of irrigated cultures from satellite images: Berambadi experimental watershed in India ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : S. CORGNE

CHROMITE (2016-2019) : Assessment of Chromium Release from Sukinda mining Overburden : an IsoTopic, chemical, physical and microbiological study ; CEFIPRA ; PI : S. SUBRAMANIAN, Y. SIVRY

Its goal was to understand and describe the chemical and microbiological factors controlling the chromium mobility during extremely contrasted meteorological conditions in the Sukinda Valley, through a multidisciplinary approach involving isotopic geochemistry , micro-biology, mineralogy and speciation. The Sukinda valley accounts for 99% of the chromium reserves in India.

(2016-2019) : Integrated hydrological assessment, monitoring and documentation project ; KWD World Bank ; PI : M. SEKHAR


SOLE NASA-CNES SWOT Science Team (2016-2019) ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : A. ALBITAR, F. PAPA

SUJALA (2014-2019) : Integrated hydrological assessment, monitoring and documentation project ; KWD World Bank ; PI : M. SEKHAR

IZNOEGOOD (2016-2017) : Relative Sea level Rise in the Bay of Bengal ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : S. CALMANT, F. PAPA

(2015-2017) : Modeling of evapotranspiration from remote sensing ; ISRO STC ; PI : M. SEKHAR

(2014-2017) : Bangladesh delta: assessment of the causes of sea-level rise hazards and integrated development of predictive modeling towards mitigation and adaption (BAND-AID) ; BELMONT-ANR ; PI : CK SHUM, F. PAPA

(2014-2017) : Dynamic of silica and nutrients in crop lands ; MAE/DST CEFIPRA ; PI : J.D. MEUNIER, N.B. PRAKASH

(2014-2017) : Dynamics of Intraseasonal Variability in the North Indian Ocean Waveguide ; INCOIS INDOMOD ; PI : SURESH

PRACRITI-II (2014-2017) : Development of a coupled distributed groundwater model to assimilate RS data ; ISRO STC ; PI : M. SEKHAR

SINDIA (2015-2016) : Cycle du silicium le long du continuum continent océan en Inde ; INSU LEFE/EC2CO ; PI : D. CARDINAL

GEOMOD (2015-2016) : Combined GEOchemical and MODellingapproaches for an improved understanding of the water cycle in the Bay of Bengal ; INSU LEFE/EC2CO ; PI : M. LENGAIGNE

(2014-2016) : Relative role of external forcing and internal variability in explaining decadal variations ; ANR Blanche ; PI : C. CASSOU

AICHA (2013-2016) : Adaptation of Irrigated Agriculture to Climate Change ; INRA/DST CEFIPRA ; PI : L. RUIZ, M. SEKHAR

(2013-2016) : Air-sea coupling under Tropical Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal ; MAE/DST CEFIPRA ; PI : M. LENGAIGNE, S. NEETU

(2013-2016) : Impacts of ocean-atmosphere coupling and SST high frequency variability on the coupled simulation of the mean state and variability of the Indian Summer Monsoon ; CSIR ; PI : P. TERRAY, M. ROXY

(2013-2016) : Scientific studies for the SARAL/AltiKa mission ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : L. TESTUT

(2012-2016) : Sea Level variability in the Northern Indian Ocean Coastal Waveguide ; CNES-CSIRO ; PI : J. VIALARD, F. PAPA

(2014-2015) : Management of transboundary rivers in the context of SWOT satellite mission ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : S. BIANCAMARINA, F.PAPA

MACROFLUX (2014-2015) : Influence de la MACROfaune sur les FLUX d’éléments chimiques et l’infiltration de l’eau dans les sols tropicaux – Cas des termitières produites dans les bassins versants de Mule Hole (Inde) et Nsimi (Cameroun) ; INSU EC2CO ; PI : P. JOUQUET

(2013-2015) : Freshwater Cycle in the Bay of Bengal and Hydrology of the adjoining continent ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : F. DURAND

(2013-2015) : Estimation of soil hydraulic properties in a catchment using agro-hydrological models and microwave remote sensing ; ISRO STC ; PI : M. SEKHAR

(2012-2015) : HyVarMuliObs, Water Cycle from Multi-satellite ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : F. PAPA

(2013-2014) : Estimation spatialisée des propriétés hydriques des sols par inversion d’un modèle de culture et utilisation des données de télédétection ; INSU LEFE/MANU ; PI : S. BUIS

BOLICZ (2013-2014) : Exploration isotopique de la zone critique : Bore et lithium ; INSU CNRS EC2CO ; PI : J. GAILLARDET

(2012-2014) : Global monitoring of terrestrial water storage variability in the Tropics ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : F. PAPA

(2011-2014) : Assessing groundwater storage changes and sustainability due to climate change in the semi-arid watersheds of South India ; CSIR COPEC ; PI : M. SEKHAR

(2011-2014) : Downscaling of Land Surface Water for SWOT applications ; CNES TOSCA ; PI : C. PRIGENT, F.PAPA