Sara Modanesi

Research Fellow

Via della Madonna Alta, 126
Perugia Italy
CAP 06128


Office Phone: +39 0755014-405




Research interest

The research activity mainly regards:

  1. Land surface and hydrological modeling;
  2. Data assimilation of remote sensing backscatter observations into land surface models for improving the water cycle description and track the effect of the human impacts (i.e., irrigation);
  3. Drought monitoring through the use of remote sensing observations;
  4. Validation and application of innovative satellite products for the improvement of hydrological modelling;


Sara Modanesi was born in Tarquinia, Italy, in 1985. She received a M.S. degree in Applied Geology in 2012 and a Master degree in Analysis and Management of Hydrological Hazard in 2016, from Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) both with excellence. From October 2017 to March 2018, she carried out an Internship with the Research Institute of Geo-Hydrological Protection (IRPI) of the National Research Council (CNR) of Perugia (Italy) within the project “New technologies for Hydrogeological Risk Assessment”. From May 2018 to May 2019 she worked with a research scholarship at the CNR-IRPI of Perugia (Italy).  In November 2018 she has started an International Doctorate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Florence (Italy), in a dual collaboration with KU Leuven (Belgium), on the topic “Innovative use of Earth observations into a land surface model for tracking human-induced changes to the terrestrial water cycle”. From May 2019 she is carrying out research activities as a research fellow at the CNR-IRPI of Perugia (Italy).




  • Elwan, E.; Le Page, M.; Jarlan, L.; Baghdadi, N.; Brocca, L.; Modanesi, S.; Dari, J.; Quintana Seguí, P.; Zribi, M. Irrigation Mapping on Two Contrasted Climatic Contexts Using Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 Data. Water 2022, 14, 804.


  • Modanesi, S., Massari, C., Gruber, A., Lievens, H., Tarpanelli, A., Morbidelli, R., De Lannoy, G.J.M., 2021. Optimizing a backscatter forward operator using Sentinel-1 data over irrigated land. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 25, 6283–6307.
  • Massari, C.; Modanesi, S.; Dari, J.; Gruber, A.; De Lannoy, G.J.M.; Girotto, M.; Quintana-Seguí, P.; Le Page, M.; Jarlan, L.; Zribi, M.; Ouaadi, N.; Vreugdenhil, M.; Zappa, L.; Dorigo, W.; Wagner, W.; Brombacher, J.; Pelgrum, H.; Jaquot, P.; Freeman, V.; Volden, E.; Fernandez Prieto, D.; Tarpanelli, A.; Barbetta, S.; Brocca, L. A Review of Irrigation Information Retrievals from Space and Their Utility for Users. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 4112.
  • De Santis, D.; Biondi, D.; Crow, W.T.; Camici, S.; Modanesi, S.; Brocca, L.; Massari, C. Assimilation of Satellite Soil Moisture Products for River Flow Prediction: An Extensive Experiment in over 700 Catchments throughout Europe. Water Resources Research, 57, 6 (2021).


  • Modanesi, S.; Massari, C.; Camici, S.; Brocca, L.; Amarnath, G.- Do Satellite Surface Soil Moisture Observations Better Retain Information About Crop‐Yield Variability in Drought Conditions? Water Resources Research, 56 ,2 (2020).


  • Azimi, S.; Dariane, A. B.; Modanesi, S.; Bauer-Marschallinger, B.; Bindish, R.; Wagner, W.; Massari, C.- Understanding the benefit of Sentinel 1 and SMAP – era satellite soil moisture retrievals for flood forecasting in small basins: effect of revisit time and the spatial resolution. J. Hydrol., 581 (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.124367


  • Bauer-Marschallinger, B.; Naeimi, V.; Cao, S.; Paulik, C.; Schaufler, S.; Stachl, T.; Modanesi, S.; Massari, C.; Ciabatta, L.; Brocca, L.; Wagner, W.- Towards Global Soil Moisture Monitoring with Sentinel-1: Harnessing Assets and Overcoming Obstacles. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 2018, 1-20. https:// org/ 10.1109/TGRS.2018.2858004
  • Bauer-Marschallinger, B.; Paulik, C.; Hochstöger, S.; Mistelbauer, T.; Modanesi, S.; Ciabatta, L.; Massari, C.; Brocca, L.; Wagner, W. – Soil Moisture from Fusion of Scatterometer and SAR: Closing the Scale Gap with Temporal Filtering. Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1030.


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