Advanced SSS products now available with global coverage!

Objectively Analysed SSS for the period May 27th to June 4th, 2014

Objectively Analysed SSS for the period May 27th to June 4th, 2014

In a continuous effort to improve the quality of our data and provide a better service to our users, we have made a new brand of advanced SSS products available. In contrast with previous datasets, the new products have global coverage and are generated for a 6-year period.

The new products are based in the debiased non-Bayesian method, as the previous ones. Some minors issues regarding the definition of the SMOS-based climatologies have been improved for the production of this new dataset.

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Debiased non-Bayesian retrieval: A novel approach to SMOS Sea Surface Salinity

We are pleased to inform you that our paper “Debiased non-Bayesian retrieval: A novel approach to SMOS Sea Surface Salinity” has recently appeared in Remote Sensing of Environment.

In the paper, we present a new method to process SMOS data in order to obtain more precise, less biased values of Sea Surface Salinity (SSS). With the new methodology, we do not only improve the overall quality of SSS data, but we also obtain valid retrievals in areas previously deemed as inaccessible, such as the Mediterranean.

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Preliminary SWDI maps using the BEC L4 soil moisture product

The Water Resources Research Group of the University of Salamanca has developed a new agricultural drought index, the so-called Soil Water Deficit Index (SWDI) [1], [2], based in soil moisture and soil parameters. Using the high resolution BEC L4 soil moisture product [3] as an input of the SWDI, agricultural drought maps of Zamora province (west of Spain) were derived (Fig. 1). With this product, agricultural drought conditions in the most important agricultural regions in Spain will be monitored.

The results of this research will be published soon, so stay tuned!


Fig.1. SWDI-SMOS map at 1 km spatial resolution of Zamora province showing wet (02/12/2010, Up) and dry (24/08/2011, Down) conditions.

Fig.1. SWDI-SMOS map at 1 km spatial resolution of Zamora province showing wet (02/12/2010, Up) and dry (24/08/2011, Down) conditions.

[1] Martínez-Fernández, J., González-Zamora, A., Sánchez, N., & Gumuzzio, A. (2015). “A soil water based index as a suitable agricultural drought indicator.” Journal of Hydrology, 522, 265-273.

[2] Martínez-Fernández, J., González-Zamora, A., Sánchez, N., Gumuzzio, A., & Herrero-Jiménez, C.M. (2016). “Satellite soil moisture for agricultural drought monitoring: Assessment of the SMOS derived Soil Water Deficit Index.” Remote Sensing of Environment, 177, 277-286.

[3] Piles, M., Camps, A., Vall-llossera, M., Corbella, I., Panciera, R., Rüdiger, C., Kerr, Y.H., & Walker, J. (2011). “Downscaling SMOS-Derived Soil Moisture Using MODIS Visible/Infrared Data.” IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 49, 3156-3166.

A big tour sampling the North Atlantic ocean



In march 2013 an international experiment, the Salinity Processes in the Upper ocean Regional Study (SPURS), was carried out with the goal of performing a wide range of mesoscale and submesoscale measurements to understand the mechanisms of formation and permanence of the largest ocean salinity maximum in the centre of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. Several standard and prototype instruments were used in measuring the Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) and other ocean variables. Among many activities developed during the SPURS-MIDAS cruise, the ICM contribution to SPURS, a set of new Lagrangian drifters to measure the SST and SSS were deployed. These were part of a total set of 114 similar drifters deployed during the whole experiment (Centurioni et al, 2015). Now almost three years later, three of these units are still providing data after performing a big tour around the North Atlantic.

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New Research: Ocean Currents at BEC

Ocean currents are a key element for the understanding of many oceanic and climatic phenomena and their knowledge is crucial for navigation and operational applications. Following the official broadening of its scope, BEC has extended its research activity towards the diagnosis of ocean surface currents from satellite observations. This new research line, led by Dr. Jordi Isern-Fontanet, is being funded through the ComFuturo program ( granted by the Fundación General del CSIC ( and through the GlobCurrent project ( funded by ESA.
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Preliminary SMOS SSS in the Mediterranean

Experimental SMOS SSS maps of the Mediterranean Sea are being computed at BEC using a new methodological approach to cope with land and RFI contamination. Three different products are being analysed: monthly binned maps at a 1×1 deg grid; optimal interpolated maps at 0.25×0.25 deg; and daily products at 0.25×0.25 deg through fusion with Reynolds SST.  The preliminary assessment of the monthly product shows an RMS with respect to ARGO of 0.35 psu. These maps will be available soon in our CP34-BEC data distribution system, so keep watching!
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Using Argo to validate remote sensing missions

With its more than 3500 automatic profilers, the Argo array is one of the most important component of the Global in-situ Ocean Observing System. The array provides measurements of temperature and salinity profiles down to 2000 m. These data are rapidly expanding the historical database of the ocean sub-surface (specially in the case of ocean salinity) and are providing novel information about the ocean’s vertical structure and its variability. Moreover, these data allow real-time monitoring, model-constraining and contribute to calibration and verification efforts.

Number of available profiles from January 2005 to December 2014: Shown are the total number of profiles, the delayed mode profiles as for Apri 27, 2015 and the number of delayed mode profiles with salinity.

Figure 1: Number of Argo profiles from January 2005 to December 2014: Shown are the total number of profiles, the delayed mode profiles as for April 27, and the number of delayed mode profiles with salinity.

The Euro-Argo ( research infrastructure, designed to coordinate the European contribution to Argo, is part of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). Euro-Argo is expected to provide additional 50 floats per year and support about the 25% of
the Argo array.

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NASA successfully launches its Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite

On January 31st, NASA successfully launched the SMAP satellite onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. The satellite, designed to collect high resolution soil moisture maps on a global scale every two to three days, will improve the ability to forecast droughts, forest fires and floods, and will help in crop planning and rotation. On February 24th the reflector antenna was successfully deployed and in the following days the first radiometric data have been acquired.

Image: NASA, United Launch Alliance


In order to obtain detailed soil moisture measurements of the entire world, SMAP is placed in a near-polar sun-synchronous orbit, allowing the observatory to use Earth’s natural spin to maximize the area that can be scanned by the satellite’s instruments. The orbiter will use its L-band radar and L-band radiometer to scan the top 2 inches (5 cm) of our planet’s soil with a resolution of around 31 miles (50 km).

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Merry Christmas from SMOS BEC!

New Year, new challenges!

Season Greetings!

The SMOS BEC team wishes you Merry Christmas and a Happy  2013 full of  achievements.

SSS measured by a volunteer yatch participating in the Barcelona World Race.