An overview of the SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity)
Kerr, Y.H.1; Escorihuela, M.J.2; Mialon, A.2; Waldteufel, P.2; Wigneron, J.P.2; Cabot, F.2; Hahne, A.2; Mecklenburg, S.3
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The best way to access to SM and SSS is through the use of L band (21cm, 1.4 GHz) microwave radiometer systems. Other means (higher frequency radiometry, optical domain, active remote sensing) suffer strong deficiencies, due to vulnerability to cloud cover and/or various perturbing factors (such as roughness or vegetation cover), as well as poor sensitivity. Although the sensitivity L band microwave radiometry to SM and SSS was known for a long time now, the prohibitive antenna size to achieve a suitable ground resolution has restricted the development of this technique. Recent development of the so-called interferometry design, inspired from the very large baseline antenna concept, makes such a venture possible. The SMOS instrument is based on a L band (1.4 GHz) 2D interferometric radiometer and it is scheduled for launch in 2008. The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission will provide, over the open ocean, global salinity maps with an accuracy better than 0.1 PSU every few days, with a 200 km spatial resolution; over the land surfaces, global maps of soil moisture, with an accuracy better than 0.04 m3/m3 every 3 days, with a space resolution better than 50 km, as well as vegetation water content with an accuracy of 0.2 kgm-2 . As well as demonstrating the use of the new radiometer, the data acquired from this mission will contribute to furthering our knowledge of the Earth's water cycle. The data acquired from the SMOS mission will lead to better weather and extreme-event forecasting, and contribute to seasonal-climate forecasting. As a secondary objective, SMOS will also provide observations over regions of snow and ice, contributing to studies of the cryosphere. Consequently SMOS will deliver several key variables for hydrology which will be presented during this presentation


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