Earth Explorers for Climate – The contribution from SMOS

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Starting 9 March 2021

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Organisation: European Space Agency (ESA)

The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission – the European Space Agency’s (ESA) water mission – will complete its 10th year in orbit in November 2019. Thanks to its excellent technical status and the high quality data it provides over land, ocean and ice, a large number of scientific and operational applications have been developed. The mission was primarily conceived to provide global observations of soil moisture and ocean salinity, two key variables used in predictive hydrological, oceanographic and atmospheric models. SMOS observations though also provide information on vegetation, in particular plant available water and water content in a canopy, drought index and flood risks, surface ocean winds in storms, freeze/thaw state and sea ice and its effect on ocean-atmosphere heat fluxes and dynamics affecting large-scale processes of the Earth’s climate system.

This symposium will explore address the use of a decade of SMOS data for climate research. Many processes, especially related to climate, occur on temporal and spatial scales that are well beyond the lifetime of an individual mission. Ten years of SMOS data are hence a valuable long-term consistent satellite data records to study these processes and to understand changes in the Earth System, for example in the global water or carbon cycle. In addition, longer data records increase the level of confidence in estimating extreme events, such as droughts or tropical cyclones.

The symposium is open to scientists and engineers interested in exploring the capabilities of 10 years of SMOS data, also in synergy with other space or ground based data sources, for climate applications.