Simulated seasonal sea-salinity maps (ESA).
Simulated seasonal
sea-salinity maps
The principal objective of the SMOS mission is to provide maps of soil moisture and ocean salinity of specified accuracy, sensitivity, spatial resolution, spatial coverage and temporal coverage. In addition, the mission is expected to provide useful data for cryosphere studies.

A novel instrument has been especially developed to make these observations and one of the objectives is also to demonstrate the use of a new radiometer that is capable of observing both soil moisture and ocean salinity by capturing images of emitted microwave radiation around the frequency of 1.4 GHz (L-band).

SMOS carries the first-ever, polar-orbiting, space-borne, 2-D interferometric radiometer.

In summary, the SMOS science objectives are:
  • To globally monitor surface soil moisture over land surfaces;
  • To globally monitor surface salinity over the oceans;
  • To improve the characterisation of ice and snow covered surfaces.
These objectives are pursued in order:
  • To advance climatological, oceanographic, meteorological, hydrological, agronomical and glaciological science;
  • To assess the potential of these measurements in order to the improve the management of water resources.

The Earth's water Cycle (ESA)
The Earth´s water cycle (ESA).