Research Engineer ‘Sea Surface Salinity retrieval from SMOS satellite measurements’

Category : L2, position opening

A research engineer position is opened at the Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat – Expérimentation et Approches Numériques (LOCEAN)/ Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL), PARIS, starting as soon as possible. The position is for one year, likely renewable for 2 years.

Context :

The SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) mission is the first satellite mission carrying an L-band radiometer interferometer. Since its launch, end of 2009, it acquired over 5 years of data that demonstrate the feasibility of the sea surface salinity measurement by L-band radiometry, the capability of the interferometry technique, and it opens new research topics. The LOCEAN team has been involved since 1999 in the definition of direct and inverse models applicable to SMOS. It is one of the ESA Expert Support Laboratory in charge of the definition of the algorithms used for retrieving salinity from SMOS brightness temperatures in the ESA operational chain. The selected candidate will be in charge of the improvement of existing algorithms, dealing in particular with data selection, configuration of the baysian retrieval, radiative transfer model, in close collaboration with researchers and engineers of the laboratory.

The selected candidate will join the LOCEAN IPSO (Interactions et Processus au sein de la couche de Surface Océanique) team involved in the physics of the L-band radiometry, in the satellite salinity validation and in understanding  the processes responsible for the differences observed between satellite and in situ measurements, in particular those linked  to air-sea interaction, vertical stratification and small-scale variability ( and

Work details :

- Developpement of new algorithms for improving the retrieval of the salinity from SMOS mission ; collaboration with the industrial for their implementation in the processor chain

- Relationship with other ESA expert support laboratory and with the company in charge of the evolutions and the maintenance of the processor: participation to weekly teleconference of the SMOS ESA level 2 ocean team and attending the progress meetings (3 per year). Writing of technical papers and participation to scientific papers is possible, depending on the algorithms improvements.

Required Skills:
-          Physics of satellite measurement
-          Data processing and statistics
-          Knowledge of LINUX and C
-          Matlab and/or Python
-          Autonomy and team collaborative working

Welcome Skills:
-          Optimization for huge data processing
-          Interest for environmental science

Level: Research Engineer (PhD thesis or equivalent)

Address : LOCEAN, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Tour 45-55, 5E, 4, place Jussieu, 75005 PARIS, FRANCE.

Salary : about € 1900 net, commensurable with qualification and experience of the candidate (CNRS salary grid)

Candidates should send a statement of interest, CV and coordinates of 2 referees to  Jacqueline Boutin ( and Nicolas Martin (

SMOS totally back on tracks

Category : Data, L1, L2

As you are most probably aware, (se previous post on January 12), segment 1 of Arm B had a severe temperature problem starting on December 31st. This was solved early in January but a total recalibration of the system was necessary. This calibration was finsihed a couple of days ago by the L1 team . We are now finishing checking the overall performance figure but we can say already that SMOS is completely back to its previous performance  level (i.e., before  mid December). During the next level 1 reprocessing erxercise, the whole data set will be brought to the same level of calibration.

Also note that later today we will update the link performances and version with the latest results where you will be able to see the current impact of the arm B1 issue.

From today on this page will be updated daily.

Finally ESA has finished reprocessing level1c for the whole year 2010 and at CESBIO we are reprocessing level2 soil moisture. Check this blog to know as soon as it is done and verified!

SMOS Health

Category : Data, L1, L2

As you probably know since December 31st arm B segment 1 was having some problems with temperature. The ESAC team, with the help of others investigated fully the problem and it was decided yesterday to use the nominal (redundant) arm B to avoid a wax and string work around. The new configuration will require some calibration exercises to be fully operational and some periods are not so good !

So, to make a long story short…

Science data will be of degraded quality between December 31st 2010 and January 12 2011 and we will post here some information on this very soon. Basically some is pretty useless some is of reasonable quality.

In spite of this degradation we were able to monitor floods in Australia for instance (soon on this blog) so not all data is degraded.

Note that at the end of December we have one week with no  data (electrical stability test). The idea is to reprocess the period 31/12/2010 — 12/01/2011 later so have to complement the temporal series

Stay tuned

End of SMOS commissioning Phase

Category : Commissioning phase

Yes, 6 months already since SMOS was launched from Plesetzk. Time flies!
The last 3 days we had a good set of meetings in Avila (with a superb organization – master minded by Guillermo – in a magnificent town ) to establish the status at the end of commissioning.
During the key point 3 we had an extensive summary of activities followed by the end of commisioning meeting and the a board meeting to finalise the options. and lay the path for the future.
In a nut shell (more detailed minutes and reports will be issued soon by the Project in preparation of the official hand over) we can say that SMOS is meeting practically all the science requirements as expressed in the original proposal of 1998 and indicated in the system requirement document with « flying colours ».
SMOS will now switch to the normal operation mode with the option of working in the full polarisation mode.
Early June, the L1C data will soon be reprocessed and made available to all while the level 2 will be made available to the Cal val users. More details and information will be announced in Bergen.
I must say that if we are now were we are it is thanks to the work and efforts of many people, all dedicated to making SMOS a success. The commissioning phase for instance saw lots of activity from the operation teams, the L1 and L2 teams.

I wish thus to thank all project teams, Industries and science team including the ones who were with me at the very beginning for making SMOS  so real and so good!

download wordpress themes