Science Meetings

SMOS Mission Status from the Ocean's Perspective
Reul, N. and SMOS Team Members (15-Apr-13)

In this talk, the authors present an overview of the SMOS mission status with respect to oceanic observations. The young SSS remote sensing experience from Space will be first discussed in light of the now more than 50-years old ocean satellite observations of sea surface temperature, sea level and ocean color.

After 3 years of acquisitions and continous improvements, SMOS SSS data still present some well identified flaws (spatio-temporal drifts, biases, uncertainties) associated with either calibration issues, image reconstruction processing unknowns, brightness temperature forward modelling issues (corrections of sea surface roughness, extra-terrestial sources) or radio-frequency interference contaminations. Some of these problems are purely-SMOS related issues (e.g. interferometric concept) and some are common to both SMOS and Aquarius missions (forward models, asc-desc biaises) but can also take different forms (e.g; rfi, glints..). Solutions to correct for these problems are not unique and several methods were proposed by different teams working on both missions. We'll briefly review these issues & solutions.

In addition, both mission products help us now discovering what the global skin salinity of the ocean looks like. The centimeter depth SSS sensing by satellites potentially differs from traditional deeper in situ measurements and add uncertainties in interpreting salinity estimates from Space.

Nevertheless, several very interesting science application already emerged from the analysis of the first three years of SMOS data over the ocean . In particular, we shall review results which will be discussed more in depth during the meeting oral & posters presentations such as large tropical river plume monitoring, rain-induced freshening imprints in the tropics, upwelling event signatures, tropical instability waves, ENSO/La Nina interannual signals, tropical cyclone/freshwater pool interactions and exchanges of salt across large western boundary currents. Combined with other ocean observing systems, the new products from SMOS and Aquarius clearly add key previously missing informations to better monitor our changing climate.