The SMOS project at LOCEAN/IPSL

Co-I SMOS: J. BOUTIN

SMOS has been in orbit for more than a decade now. This remarkable satellite not only exceeded its expected life in orbit, but it also exceeded its original scientific objectives. It was designed to provide data on Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity, which are two crucial components of the Earth's water cycle. By constantly mapping these variables, SMOS not only advances our understanding of the water cycle and exchange processes between the Earth's surface and the atmosphere, but also contributes to improved weather forecasting and climate research, as well as a growing number of practical applications... [View more from the IPSL news page (in French)]

SMOS was decided by the ESA (European Space Agency) as part of the opportunity missions of the Agency's Earth Explorer program, with significant contributions from CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) and the space authority Spanish (Centro Para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial, CDTI).

The SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) / ESA (European Space Agency) satellite mission  (PI: Y. Kerr, CESBIO) has been successfully launched on November 2nd, 2009. It is the first satellite mission measuring Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) and Soil Moisture from space using an L-band interferometric radiometer (see more on the CESBIO SMOS blog).

Since 1999, LOCEAN/IPSL is strongly involved in the SSS measurement using L-band radiometry. LOCEAN/IPSL studies contribute to the CATDS (Centre Aval de Traitement des Données SMOS) expertise center.

LOCEAN/IPSL is one of the expert support laboratories, ESL, working on algorithms implemented for the SSS retrieval in the ESA operational chain. These ESL studies are coordinated by ARGANS company and are performed in tight collaboration with LOPS and ICM/BEC laboratories and ARGANS and ACRI-ST companies.

LOCEAN/IPSL co-coordinates scientific activities of the SSS Climate Change Initiative project.

LOCEAN/IPSL coordinates French activities related to SSS remote sensing in the frame of a CNES/TOSCA project involving LOPS and LEGOS laboratories. It brings researches on SSS retrieval, salinity near surface stratification in the vicinity of rainy events, river plumes, SSS variability at various temporal and spatial scales… LOCEAN/IPSL contributes to the CATDS (Centre Aval de Traitement des Données SMOS) Ocean Salinity Expertise Center (CATDS CEC-OS) in order to improve SSS products (see more at the CATDS Products page).


This time animation was prepared for the 10th SMOS anniversary. The animation shows both sea surface salinity (SSS) and soil moisture (SM) over the 10 years of available data (to be updated).

SMOS SSS maps and data products are accessible at CATDS CEC and CATDS CPDC.