The junior Earth Observation Space Agency !

Category : CATDS, Data, L4, Tools, Training


The best experiences are the ones we do with passion … and with friends.

Last week, my previous officemate and dear friend Jerome was organising a Science fair during the Week for Science in France. More precisely, a non-profit organisation “Scientomomes” that he chairs was organising the fair with a multitude of stands covering information technology and robotics (this is Jerome’s universe), archaeology, fluid mechanics…

Eager to join the team, I suggested a workshop on EO satellites. The idea was to simplify the process behind an earth observation mission for the kids and make them build rudimentary models.

So I imagined a workshop divided into three steps:

What to observe ?

First the kids select a subject of interest: hydrology, oceanography…and most important an issue that passionate them: melting of the ice sheets, flood monitoring, deforestation…And from this they select a technology (satellite) that can help answer their question much like a phase 0 (CNES) for an EO mission. For this they use a monitor connected to a pc with the following links/apps from CNES/ESA/Google:


Make your satellite model

Then they build the satellite from basic tools that covers the main components: container, power source, scientific instruments, communication device, and orientation finders. Nothing sophisticated. They use printed models of satellites, gold papers for isolation, cardboards, screws for thruters… (Here they are at phase C). Here is one rudimentary example from NASA :



Launch it…

Last step they launch the satellite, make the commissioning and check the actual data from the mission. Finally they make sure the satellite is destroyed properly (well in this case virtually). For the launch we used a youtube videos over a connected monitor:

Needless to say the event was a great success and we had an army of future engineers building the most extensive Earth Observation System of Systems !

And to my delight Clement (the future engineer you see in the first picture) selected to make a satellite to monitor soil moisture and he made a model of ESA SMOS satellite.  So the future seems to be bright…


SMOS sees the Polynia in Antarctica

Category : CATDS, L3

The giant hole (polynia) that has opened up in Antarctica’s Weddell sea.

At L-band,  the difference between the emission of water (cold, blue colors) and frozen surface (higher TB, yellow to red) is important so that this phenomenon is easily captured by SMOS, and specially this one that is particularly large.


These images are averages over 4 days, starting July 1-4 2107 to October 9-13

Complementary info can be found here :

See Africa Breathing!

Category : CATDS, Data, L3

Simon Gascoin from CESBIO just sent me this animation he made using CATDS SMOS L3 SM over Africa


SMOS MONTHLY SM Fields over Africa (click to activate)

It is fascinating to see not only the pulsating effect of ITCZ over Africa, but also its counterpart in South Africa, the Euphrates  or the rainy seasons over the Maghreb, the internal Niger delta or the Okavango and many more … Enjoy

New salinity products are available at CATDS!

Category : CATDS, L3, L4, Ocean

Dear CATDS user,

New salinity products are available at CATDS. A new correction for systematic errors (land-sea and seasonal-latitudinal ) has been implemented in CATDS CPDC and in CATDS CEC LOCEAN.

Concerning CATDS CPDC, a RE05 reprocessing of ocean salinity is available from January 2010 to March 2017; the operational processing has been updated accordingly. Binned maps at usual spatial and temporal resolution are available. The SMOS SSS corrected for systematic errors are in MIR_CSQ3 files; non corrected SMOS SSS remain available in MIR_CSF3 files. The corrected product is limited to 45N-47S, the correction remaining uncertain at higher latitudes. A new ATBD is available at
You can download this product from the usual ftp site :

Concerning CATDS CEC-LOCEAN, 9-day and 18-day products sampled at 25km resolution are provided every 4 days. They cover all latitudes from January 2010 to December 2016 (see further description in the documentation at
A validation of these products has been presented at EGU (see poster at
You can download this product from the usual ftp site :

Best regards

The CATDS Team

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