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SMOS brings Mediterranean salinity into focus

11 May 2017

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ESA's SMOS mission maps variations in soil moisture and salt in the surface waters of the open oceans. When the satellite was designed, it was not envisaged that it would be able to measure salinity in smaller seas like the Mediterranean, but SMOS has again surpassed expectations.

The satellite carries a microwave instrument to capture images of ‘brightness temperature', which correspond to microwave radiation emitted from Earth's surface and can be related to soil moisture and ocean salinity.

While this information is fulfilling the mission's core objective of improving our understanding of Earth's water cycle, SMOS has found a multitude of other uses such as tracking hurricanes, measuring thin ice floating in the polar oceans and improving crop-yield forecasts.
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