Solar Flares as seen by SMOS Dear SMOSers Raúl Díez-García from the SMOS Calibration Expertise Centre at ESAC (Spain) tells us that last Wednesday (September 6th 2017) SMOS was able to observe the monster X9-class solar flare. Se below the Sun's brightness temperatures of this event. At the maximum, it almost reaches 21 million Kelvin which is kind of hot!. He provided the following charts: SMOS...


SMOS and Harvey As most of you are well aware the Hurricane Harvey Texas very recently showing that maybe climate change is not a joke. <-- Harvey (Image: NASA) Harvey's  forecasted trajectory (National Hurricane Center, National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration) ^ SMOS monitored wind speed while Harvey was travelling in the Gulf of Mexico and then...


Alexander Löw Dear Colleagues I regret to have to tell you a very sad piece of information. One of our colleagues, Alex Löw tragically died in a car accident last week end. He had been with us since the inception of the Cal Val activities for SMOS and has always been very supportive of the passive microwave soil moisture approach. More important he was a very good scientist and...


New salinity products are available at CATDS! 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...


NEW SMOS L4 products available on CATDS Dear SMOS DATA USER We have released a few products related to land surfaces non CATDS (see here) Products related to soil moisture and climate/ extreme events (see Al Bitar et al) namely: 1) L4_Root_Zone_ Soil_Moisture -- a 1 m deep root zone soil moisture on SMOS grid for the period starting in January 2010 2) L4_Agricultural_Drought_Index - a drought index derived...




NEW SMOS L4 products available on CATDS

Category : Non classé

We have released a few products related to land surfaces non CATDS (see here)
Products related to soil moisture and climate/ extreme events (see Al Bitar et al) namely:
1) L4_Root_Zone_ Soil_Moisture — a 1 m deep root zone soil moisture on SMOS grid for the period starting in January 2010
2) L4_Agricultural_Drought_Index – a drought index derived from 1 for the same period
Two products linked to making a long time series of soil moisture using SMOS data as a reference.
They were produced with AMSR-2 (and encompasses AMSR-2 life time) and directly match the SMOS L3 data giving almost 15 years of surface soil moisture. We will extend the temporal series in the  near future
3) L4_AMRS-E_SMOS_Soil_Moisture_using_Neural_Networks (Rodriguez Fernandez et al)
4) L4_AMRS-E_SMOS_Soil_Moisture_using_Multi-linear_Regression (Al-Yaari et al)
And finally a roughness map derived from SMOS DATA (Parrens et al)
5) L4_Surface_Roughness_map
Enjoy and do not hesitate to send us your feed back

NEW DEADLINE to be noted

Category : Non classé

In case you missed the first announcement, this is to inform you that the abstract submission deadline for the 4th Satellite Soil Moisture Validation and Application Workshop (19-20 September 2017) and the CCI Soil Moisture User Workshop (18 September 2017) has been postponed to May 15th 2017.

The two meetings will take place at Vienna University of Technology, Austria.
For more info see

The abstract submission deadline is 15 May 2017.

Postdoctoral Researcher: Satellite-Based Data Assimilation for Soil Moisture Estimation

Category : Model, position opening

We are searching for an enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher with experience in land surface modeling and/or data assimilation to implement advanced modules into an existing global land surface data assimilation system. You will be part of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Division Soil and Water Management, at the KU Leuven (Belgium), working under the supervision of prof. Gabrielle De Lannoy.

Soil moisture is a key variable in the water, energy and carbon cycle over land. The objective of this project is to merge large-scale land surface simulations with satellite-based microwave observations, using an advanced data assimilation scheme which corrects for both the random and persistent errors in soil moisture estimates. The improved soil moisture time series will help enhancing subsequent predictions of flooding, landslides, soil and vegetation carbon, deeper groundwater and the atmospheric boundary layer.

Our team

- Perform and disseminate highly qualitative research related to land surface modeling, observation and data assimilation
- Possibly supervise PhD or master thesis students

- PhD degree in Hydrology, Civil or Environmental Engineering, Meteorology, Remotely Sensed Earth Observation, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, or equivalent
- Experience with data-processing applications such as Matlab/Python, IDL,GrADS, R, or other
- Experience in programming and scientific computing
- Excellent motivation and grades
- Creative, critical, analytical and innovative mindset
- Ability to work independently
- Excellent written and oral communication skills in English, proven in publications

- 2-year position with a competitive salary; support in career development
- Multi-disciplinary and international professional environment
- Leuven is a charming historical university town, located in the heart of Western Europe

Only persons matching the above profile should apply. Please submit your resume, along with a motivation letter and two names for references on-line. The start date is 1 June 2017, but earlier or later start dates can be negotiated. For more information please contact prof. Gabrielle De Lannoy, tel.: +32 16 37 67 13, mail:

Apply for this job no later than 15 May, 2017 via the online application tool. The position will remain open until filled by an excellent candidate.

SMOS helps understanding the Gulf of Guinea cold tongue to eventually forecats rainfall amounts in Western Africa

Category : Non classé

Cold tongue and African Monsoon

Provided by Christophe MAES

Adding a pinch of salt or putting a little less cold water, the oceanic cooking recipe going on in the Gulf of Guinea may play a major role on the African monsoon rainfall patterns. In order to unravel the spicy recipe and shed some light on the processes driving the hydrological cycle – which is a key element for the West African societies, scientists endeavoured to understand the “Atlantic cold tongue process » [1]. « This equatorial zone of the ocean goes through, each year during the north hemisphere spring/summer period a double phenomenon which is closely related to the rainfall in western Africa as already known. Casimir Da-Allada, an oceanographer, explains that surface water cools down while its salinity increases to reach a maximum in June for salinity but only in July for the low temperatures.

bouee-pirata (c) IRD / B. Bourlès Bouée Pirata lors d’une campagne océanographique dans le golfe de Guinée

The challenge is to link these two parameters whose maxima are separated by a month. Eventually, researchers hope to anticipate the temperature from the salinity measurements obtained a month before to derive rainfall forecasts over West Africa. From such information, it would be possible to anticipate rainfall volume and decide as early as June, whether to sow high yield but water demanding seeds or, conversely, more rustic, lower yield, seeds able to survive droughts…

RZSM1(c) CESBIO A Albitar: Root zone soil moisture to estimate a drought index from SMOS

So as to study this possibility, scientists made use of the ESA led SMOS mission [2] as well as in situ PIRATA buoys measurements [3]. They have developed numerical simulation models and derived the salt budget of the cold tongue and identified the vertical transport processes in the water column. « According to our results, the salinity change occurring at the end of spring is linked to the seasonal equatorial sub current activity, which pushes upwards the deep water towards the surface” indicates the scientist. “Less subject to incoming fresh water (rainfall and river outflow), the sea water is saltier than surface water ». Ongoing studies evaluate the relevance of salinity as an indicator of intensity of the cool tongue seasonal onset. Once done, it will be necessary to confirm its ability to help better anticipate the African Monsoon.

[1] Da-Allada, C. Y., Jouanno, J., Gaillard, F., Kolodziejczyk, N., Maes, C., Reul, N. and Bourlès, B. (2017), Importance of the Equatorial Undercurrent on the Sea Surface Salinity in the Eastern Equatorial Atlantic in boreal spring. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 122

[2] Kerr, Y.H., Waldteufel, P., Wigneron, J.P., Delwart, S., Cabot, F., Boutin, J., Escorihuela, M.J., Font, J., Reul, N., Gruhier, C., Juglea, S.E., Drinkwater, M.R., Hahne, A., Martin-Neira, M., & Mecklenburg, S. (2010). The SMOS Mission: New Tool for Monitoring Key Elements of the Global Water Cycle. Proceedings of the Ieee, 98, 666-687

[3] Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic

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