SMOS is 10 years old! Happy Birthday and many happy returns

Category : Satellite

Yes indeed!

10 years ago, early in the day with a completely overcast sky, SMOS soared into the skies.

And after that, dutifully and without almost no interruption, the mission has delivered an outstanding data stream … So congratulations to the project team who did this wonderful mission, and thanks to the operation teams who do the utmost to deliver the data in a timely and quality driven fashion…

So where are we after ten years? …

On top of all that was planned in terms of soil moisture and Sea surface salinity…

SM_OS.mosaic2x2

Figure 1 from Dimitry Khvorostyanov (LOCEAN)

SMOS is used operationally at ECMWF in the IFS since June 2019

SMOS is used operationally to infer sea ice thickness, freeze thaw and also measures the internal temperature of the Antarctica Ice sheet…

lars

Figure 2 Sea Ice extent dévolution since SMOS Launch (Lars Kaleschke AWI)

SMOS is able to quantify high levels of biomass (300 t/ha) using the L-VOD this is also un precedented. It proved it ability to detect droughts in advance and help forecasting floods.

maps_vod_smos2(1)

Figure 3 SMOS VOD (Arnaud Mialon)

SMOS is used to improve rainfall estimates from satellite over both land and oceans, is unique for monitoring High winds (hurricanes and tornadoes)

Etc etc … I stop here as the list is too long and will get soon boring.  All I may add is that very novel uses are still coming out or on the verge of popping out (liquid water in snow and ice, green house gas emissions, …) so stay tuned.

Last but not least, we now have 10 years of continuous data at reach. We can start to study tele-connections, climate trends  indicators  or hints of them etc. The treasure box is far from being exhausted, believe me.

I may be biased but I do not think any mission can claim more results in so little time than SMOS -especially for an explorer missions. Did you realise we have already over 1400 publications  (h index of 68) in WoS? including 3 (and several more coming) in Nature journals and 20 highly cited papers?

So to make a long story short,

long life to SMOS !

Many thanks to all those who work every day with much dedication to provide us with the good data.

If as a user you have new results let us know! We like to keep abreast of all what is going on! This blog could be your sounding board

And let’s hope our decision makers will soon come to their sense and enable a SMOS/L- band radiometer follow mission to emerge – if only to satisfy the operational users!

SMOS Mission Extended to 2021!

Category : CATDS, Data, L1, L2, L3, L4, Non classé, Satellite

I am glad to inform you that yesterday the Program Board for Earth Observation (PB-EO) of ESA voted the SMOS mission extension following the ACEO (Advisory Committee for Earth Observation) review report:

« Member states’ delegations were very positive about both the achievements so far as well as the detailed plan being put forward for the extension. « 

CNES (the French Space Agency also funding the mission exploitation), has already granted funding until 2021 (actually 2019 with extension to 2021 pending PB-EO vote which we now have).

So, should everything go nicely with the satellite and platform, we have data guaranteed until  2021!

Congratulations and many thanks to all the actors of this success.

SMOS is now over 9 year old and still going strong by the way!

Yann

Soon 8 candles for SMOS!! (2/8)

Category : Non classé, Satellite

After the first image it was obvious that SMOS was running smoothly but still more works had to be done. The Commissioning phase started. We were tasked to make the first products, validate them and select the final mode of operations. For instance two options were possible, dual or full polarisation. If full pol was attractive, it also meant a degradation of sensitivity. Luckily after many tests (SMOS was operated alternatively full and dual pol, one week each for enough time to be able to reach a decision) it was found that thanks to the instrument excellent performances ful pol was perfectly acceptable and was thus selected. But all was not nice. Over oceans reaching the hundredth of a K was challenging , stability was yet to … stabilize etc. For the former  J. Tenerelli suggested to use a diagnostic tool the so called OTT (Ocean Target Transformation) which was soon to become « the tool » over ocean surfaces. for the latter the instrument did stabilize in May. This is why we generally recommend to only use data from June 2010 for delicate studies. But all this was expected and did not come as a surprise. the surprises were really bad news…

First the local oscillators of one arm, once disturbed, did seem unable to relock and needed a complete reboot… not good. This was swiftly cured by using switch to the redundant (nominal actually) segment. Again business as usual. What was not was teh discovery of RFI (radio frequency interferences) in our protected band!!

We expected some perturbations and our algorithms all had a RFI detection scheme … what we did not expect is such a large quantities of sources !

DGG_CURR_RFI_20091215_20100117_BB_less_outliers-detection

Situation (RFI probability) in December 2009 – July 2010 (P Richaume)

This obviously needed some sort of an action! we started identifying, locating, reporting these bad guys. Some were out of band emissions, but too strong to be legal, some downright « outlaws ». emitting in band. The work was/is done by Colleagues at ESAC and at CESBIO while the  reporting is done through the ANFR and managed / coordinated by ESA with some success as in many areas the situation is significantly improved (North America, Greenland, western Europe, …). the « cleanest country is probably Australia while the darkest is Japan which changed in 2011 from rather OK to completely obscured by RFI. Japan is no more on the L band Map!

These findings enabled Aquarius to be prepared while SMAP could design a very sophisticated receiver able to reduce the impact of RFI on data.

But we have to be very careful many frequency greedy groups are also lurking in the background on top of those mentioned above… which could jeopardize the wealth of results L band radiometry ids offering us (more about this in the next posts) and which can be illustrated by the first ever Soil moisture – Ocean Salinity map ever produced from space .. thanks to SMOS

Image1Soil Moisture and Ocean salinity over the globe (August 2010) (F Cabot).

Note that since 2010 many progresses were made and we have much improved results by now… stay tuned!

What’s next?

Category : Data, Satellite

Dear reader of this blog.

As you are well aware SMOS and SMAP (and Aquarius for that matter) are delivering excellent data, demonstrating every day the usefulness and uniqueness of L Band data for monitoring certain facets of our planet. Moreover, many operational or pre-operational applications are emerging. The sad thing is that our dear satellites are like us, they don’t get younger with time. … and no follow on L Band radiometers are currently decided. We are thus facing a severe data gap if a follow-on is not very soon set up.

Actually the situation is getting somewhat critical and i am convinced we should get moving quite soon on this critical issue.

I thought that we could use this forum to highlight the areas the expression of needs for L band radiometry. If you have interesting elements let me know!

In the mean time see 6 years of global soil moisture as prepared by Ali Mahmoodi with 6 years of  SMOS data.anim-sm-6y

Monthly evolution of soil moisture for teh first 6 years of SMOS (2010-2015)

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