Towards a Flood risk alert system with SMOS?

Category : CATDS, L3, L4

SMOS gives almost real time information on soil moisture. At CESBIO / CATDS we had the idea to investigate with Capgemini how such a piece of crucial information could be used to anticipate flood risks. Using the Capgemini « Rodger » platform, we merged SMOS historical records of Soil Moisture, SMOS actual surface soil moisture information and rainfall forecasts to build a flood risk indicator.

Even though our approach is still in infancy and there are still a number of open issues to sort out (not mentioning when the extreme rainfall forecast are inadequate) we score  several successes during the past months and most notably during the recent floods in Morocco which occurred a few days ago.


flood risks as obtained on November 22nd, 2014


Same for November 25, 2014

So some work is still to be done but we are getting there!

Stay tuned!

Ahmad, Audrey, Julien, Sat and Yann

Happy Birthday SMOS!

Category : CATDS, Data, L3

Yes SMOS has been orbiting the Earth for over 5 years now!

And SMOS has been granted an extension which should take us for another 5 years.

To Celebrate just look at this animation prepared by Ahmad Albitar based on the SMOS median soil moisture retrievals. Just  click, look and you will see many features…. The red bars in the bottom indicate the months of the pictures . It is a 3 months running window.


Or, in term of brightness temperatures, (still done by Ahmad)  but in percentiles with also many features to be seen!


SMOS Level3 Catch Up data available!

Category : CATDS, L3

All SMOS L3 soil moisture products and SMOS L3 brightness temperature products from January 2010 to December 2013 have just been reprocessed and are available as usual on the CATDS FTP server (NB for new users,  please contact to gain access)

This catch up processing harmonizes the whole data set to the version currently running on the operational processor. It corresponds to the ESA level1/ 2 V600
- All the soil moisture products are elaborated using the Mironov model
- All the reprocessed products use the EASE grid. (NB Note the slight discrepancy, the operational products, after January 2014, use the EASE2 grid)
- The reprocessed products are tagged RE02
- The reprocessed Ocean Salinity products are not yet available. They will be at the end of the summer.

DATA POLICY : The CATDS data are freely distributed. However, when using these data in a publication, we request that the following acknowledgement be given :
« These data were obtained from the « Centre Aval de Traitement des Données SMOS » (CATDS), operated for the « Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales » (CNES, France) by IFREMER (Brest, France) »

Your feed back is more than welcome!


Wet or very wet?

Category : CATDS, L3

Last winter was rather warm and very wet in western Europe while in the US and Canada it was cold or rather very cold!

We looked at the SMOS data collected over Europe as obtained from CATDS and Arnaud extracted the wettest value over ten day periods (here ascending orbits) as shown on the animation below ( to see the animation click on it)

animation-max_ascFig1: maximum soil moisture (around 6 am) over successive ten day periods from January 1 to February 10 2014 as measured by SMOS.

One can see that in Ireland, SW England , W France and SW France soil moisture saturates (value at or above field capacity) indicating sodden soils with heaving pounding. If we look at the product proving minimum value fro the descending orbits we see that even at the driest if was not always completely dry.

animation-min_dscFig2: minimum soil moisture (around 6 pm) over successive ten day periods from January 1 to February 10 2014 as measured by SMOS.

Even in the driest state, note that in some areas the soils are still quite wet.

These picture show how we can track saturated to flooded areas with SMOS. Also note the impact of RFI in some areas , giving rather dry soils when / where not expected.