SMOS: a satellite mission to measure ocean surface salinity
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EditorEuropean Geophysical Society
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The ESA's SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) Earth Explorer Opportunity Mission will be launched by 2005. Its baseline payload is a microwave L-band (21 cm, 1.4 GHz) 2D interferometric radiometer, Y shaped, with three arms 4.5 m long. This frequency allows the measurement of brightness temperature (Tb) under the best conditions to retrieve soil moisture and sea surface salinity (SSS). Unlike other oceanographic variables, until now it has not been possible to measure salinity from space. However, large ocean areas lack significant salinity measurements. The 2D interferometer will measure Tb at large and different incidence angles, for two polarizations. It is possible to obtain SSS from L-band passive microwave measurements if the other factors influencing Tb (SST, surface roughness, foam, sun glint, rain, ionospheric effects and galactic/cosmic background radiation) can be accounted for. Since the radiometric sensitivity is low, SSS cannot be recovered to the required accuracy from a single measurement as the error is about 1-2 psu. If the errors contributing to the uncertainty in Tb are random, averaging the independent data and views along the track, and considering a 200 km square, allow the error to be reduced to 0.1-0.2 pus, assuming all ancillary errors are budgeted.
CitacióFont, J., Kerr, Y., Srokosz, M., Etcheto, J., Lagerloef, G., Camps, A., Waldteufel, P. SMOS: a satellite mission to measure ocean surface salinity. A: European Geophysical Society XXV General Assembly. "News letter European Geophysical Society". Niza: European Geophysical Society, 2000, p. 1-2.
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