SMOS tracks hurricane SANDY over sea and land

Category : CATDS, L2, L3, Ocean

Hurricane Sandy brought havoc and shows how necessary it is for us to be able to monitor and forecast such extreme events. SMOS is for the first time offering this possibility as shown by N Reul and his team from IFREMER (


Moreover, using measurement from an air craft the wind speed estimated below the hurricane were validated showing how efficient SMOS is:


Over land It is more a matter of looking at the soil moisture distribution and here again SMOS proves to be an invaluable tool!


More on this very soon

Russian floods

Category : L2

Southwest of Russia recently experienced server floods early July 2012.  The area  concerned by the events is situated at the border of the Black Sea, and the city of Krymsk has been severely  damaged. (

The following animation shows SMOS soil moisture (m3/m3), derived from July 4th to July 9th 2012 . The large dark blue area (July, 6th) corresponds well with the heavy precipitations reported for this region.




Satellite image (NASA EOSDIS LANCE-MODIS the northeast coast of the Black Sea, acquired at 09:30 UTC Friday, July 6, 2012.


Important precipitations in Australia

Category : L2

Early February 2012, the Eastern part of Australia was hit by important rainfalls, and  the cyclone Jasmine reached the Northern part of the country  ( The Australian Bureau of Meteorology records the amount of precipitations, as shown in the following figure which is the cumulative precipitation between the 1st and the 7th of February.


As a consequence, Eastern Australia suffered from serious floods. See the following reports:

The SMOS mission clearly sees these events. The following figure represents the average soil moisture for the first week of February. Only ascending overpasses are selected, meaning that the soil moisture is measured at about 6 a.m. local solar time. The afternoon overpasses present the same pattern. The area with a soil moisture higher than 0.5 m3/m3 (dark blue / grey) depict flooded areas or saturated soil. Note that the pattern of the precipitations and the SMOS soil moisture are well correlated (R=0.72).


SMOS and Yasi … a look back and a tentative conclusion

Category : Data

After the fact, as Yasi hit Queensland on February 3rd, we may try to analyse what gave our amateur extreme event forecast attempt!

Actually, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology was quite accurate and Yasi hit exactly were forecasted apparently. SMOS also was accurate and soils which appeared to be the dryest in this area were so, meaning that runoff was not too extreme and floods were not too bad except in the south (MacKay) where SMOS reported high soil moisture levels ( see previous post)

rainfall on the arrival of Yasi

Bom rainfall map on the arrival of Yasi (Feb 3)

BoM map for the following day (Feb 4)

BoM map for the following day (Feb 4)

And the smos maps are as follows

SMOS 2/2/2011 morning

SMOS 2/2/2011 morning

SMOS 2/2/2011 after noon

SMOS 2/2/2011 after noon

03/Feb 2011 pm

03/Feb 2011 pm

So it seems that SMOS did provide some information which proved to be correct. I am sure our colleagues at BoM will make more extensive analysis of this, as they have all the data and skills, but, from our little corner, it appears that SMOS could be used to forecast, for a given rainfall forecast, flood risks….

to be continued…

animated SMOS soil moisture maps for Yasi

animated SMOS soil moisture maps for Yasi

Claire and Yann (and BoM)

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