dr. ir. Hans Lievens

Hans Lievens

In 2011, Hans Lievens obtained the Ph.D. in Applied Biological Sciences from Ghent University, as part of a STEREO II project funded by the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO). His doctoral dissertation focused on the retrieval of soil moisture information from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and the impact of surface roughness characterization in this respect. Since 2012, he has been working on a contract of the European Space Agency, investigating the assimilation of Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) data into land surface models. In 2012, he was granted a postdoctoral fellowship from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). He has been visiting research scientist at the Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère (CESBIO, France), Princeton University (USA), and Monash University (Australia). His main research interests include: remote sensing (SAR, radiometer, SMOS, SMAP), soil moisture and surface roughness retrieval, radar backscatter modeling, radiative transfer modeling, hydrologic modeling, and data assimilation.


Address: Coupure links 653 - Room A2.009

               9000 Ghent, Belgium

Phone: +32 9 264 61 37



  • 2013 - Present: Postdoctoral research fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) – Ghent University
  • 2011 - 2013: Postdoctoral research scientists – Ghent University
  • 2007 - 2011: Ph.D. in Applied Biological Sciences – Ghent University
  • 2002 - 2007: MSc. in Applied Biological Sciences, Soil and Water Management – Ghent University


  • FWO – Soil moisture retrieval from radar and radiometer observations in support of water management (2013-2015)
  • HYDRAS+ (BELSPO) - Improving drought monitoring through assimilating multi-source remote sensing observations in hydrologic models (2014-2018)
  • SMOS + Hydrology (ESA) - Assimilation of SMOS observations to improve hydrologic model simulations (2011-2014)
  • HYDRASENS (BELSPO) - Integrating radar remote sensing, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling for surface water management, (2007-2013)

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (complete list here)

  1. Lievens, H., Kumar Tomer, S., Al Bitar, A., De Lannoy, G.J.M., Drusch, M., Dumedah, G., Hendricks_Franssen, H.-J., Kerr, Y.H., Martens, B., Pan, M., Roundy, J.K., Vereecken, H., Walker, J.P., Wood, E.F., Verhoest, N.E.C. and Pauwels, V.R.N. SMOS soil moisture assimilation for improved hydrologic simulation in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia, Remote Sensing of Environment, 168(10), 146–162, 2015.
  2. Lievens, H., Al Bitar, A., Verhoest, N. E. C., Cabot, F., De Lannoy, G. J. M., Drusch, M., Dumedah, G., Hendricks Franssen, H.-J., Kerr, Y. H., Kumar Tomer, S., Martens, B., Merlin, O., Pan, M., van den Berg, M. J., Vereecken, H., Walker, J. P., Wood, E. F., Pauwels, V. R. N. Optimization of a radiative transfer forward operator for simulating SMOS brightness temperatures over the Upper Mississippi Basin, USA, Journal of Hydrometeorology, 16, 1109–1134, 2015.
  3. Martens, B., Lievens, H., Colliander, A., Jackson, T.J., Verhoest, N.E.C. Estimating effective roughness parameters of the L-MEB model for soil moisture retrievals from passive microwave observations, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 53(7), 4091–4103, 2015.
  4. Lievens H., Verhoest N.E.C. Spatial and temporal soil moisture estimation from Radarsat-2 imagery over Flevoland, The Netherlands, Journal of Hydrology, 456–457, 44–56, 2012.
  5. Van Coillie, F., Lievens, H., Joos, I., Pizurica, A., Verbeke, L. P. C., De Wulf, R. R., Verhoest, N. E. C. Training neural networks on artificially generated data: a novel approach to SAR speckle removal, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 32(12), 3405–3425, 2011.
  6. Lievens, H., Verhoest, N.E.C. On the retrieval of soil moisture in wheat fields from L-band SAR based on Water Cloud modeling, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 8(4), 740–744, 2011.
  7. Lievens, H., Verhoest, N.E.C., De Keyser, E., Vernieuwe, H., Matgen, P., Alvarez-Mozos, J., De Baets, B. Effective roughness modelling as a tool for soil moisture retrieval from C- and L-band SAR, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 15(1), 151–162, 2011.
  8. Lievens, H., Vernieuwe, H., Alvarez-Mozos, J., De Baets, B., Verhoest, N.E.C. Error in Radar-derived soil moisture due to roughness parameterization: An analysis based on synthetical surface profiles, Sensors, 9, 1067–1093, 2009.
  9. Verhoest, N.E.C., Lievens, H., Wagner, W., Álvarez-Mozos, J., Moran, M.S., Mattia, F. On the soil roughness parameterization problem in soil moisture retrieval of bare surfaces from Synthetic Aperture Radar, Sensors, 8(7), 4213–4248, 2008.