Breaking news --> SMOS new LEVEL 2 SM Version in ready! Dear All The long awaited SMOS V650 is now ready for release and thus for you to use! We (ESA and ESLs) have prepared it  tested it, run the reprocessing from beginning to now, and the operational processor is no ready to produce it giving you access to the whole data set! The main features of the new versions are described in the release note made available...


Training at IISc, Bangalore on the use of Microwave... Are you in Bangalore next week ? and interested on learning about the use of microwave data (radiometers, SARs and Altimeters) then contact Prof. Muddu Sekhar to join us on this training. and the associated program:


8 candles for SMOS!!!!!!!! (8/8) Happy Birthday SMOS ! (As you have guessed the eight "!" correspond to 8 candles .. upside down as SMOS is looking downward). Yes SMOS has been in space for eight years now and, for a satellite, this is starting to be a somewhat venerable. So....What is next? But first a quick appraisal: We have tried to depict in the previous blogs some of the achievements only...


(Very) soon 8 candles for SMOS!!!!!!! (7/8) After a look back at oceans, soil moisture and their applications let's have a look at colder areas.... Actually during the SMOS early years we tried to get a cryosphere group  but with very limited success to say the least. Most of them were heavily involved with other missions with little time to spend on an L band radiometer of unfathomed relevance to their science. But...


Soon 8 candles for SMOS!!!!!! (6/8) After the illustrations of some striking results over oceans, we can only marvel, especially as many other aspects were not covered.  Eight years ago we did not have any of such applications and science return. Those span from rainfall estimates over oceans to wind speed retrievals for strong winds (tropical storms, hurricanes and the like) where wind scatterometers do...




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 !


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!

Soon 8 candles for SMOS!! (1/8)

Category : Non classé

As a consequence, and following an idea suggested by Nemesio, we will endeavour to post every day for the next 8 days a small story on SMOS…

Today let us reminisce a little…

smos ready for launchSMOS & Proba 2 Launch campaign with Rockot launcher

SMOS (and Proba) under the shroud and then on the Launch pad

At the end of October 2009, the  satellite (SMOS on a PROTEUS platform), with its friend Proba, was packaged on a Rockot launcher and launched smoothly, accurately and efficiently on its orbit on November 2 2009. All the deployment (solar panels, arms loaded with antennas) went also a clockwork to enable the reception and processing of the first image ever taken from space at L band with an interferometer on November 17th.


Crucial moment: Arms are being deployed


The First Soil moisture Map

Yes! this is indeed the first ever soil moisture image made from a space borne interferometer. Obviously it is not perfect but it simply showed that it worked!! the next challenge was to retrieve Sea surface Salinity… and improve the soil moisture retrievals  stay tuned

Postdoctoral Associate Position in WRF Land Data Assimilation at U-Albany

Category : position opening

Postdoctoral Associate Position in WRF Land Data Assimilation at U-Albany

The SUNY University at Albany Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) is conducting a search for a postdoctoral associate to work for 2-years in support of a NASA-funded project on assimilation of NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP)   satellite-based soil moisture data into short-term NASA Unified Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) model forecasts. The planned weather- and climate-relevant research will involve extensive numerical weather forecast model evaluation and code modification. The specific objective is to improve short-term (9-30 h) weather (incl. wind) predictability over the central U.S.

To apply, go to:;jsessionid=DE3CB6CECC39BD78B87966E519AF3EFA?JOBID=90729

The position will remain open until filled. There is a preferred start date of February 2018 or sooner.

Any questions may be directed to Dr. Craig R. Ferguson (

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…


download wordpress themes