SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) is the first satellite mission addressing the measurement of ocean salinity. Launched in November 2009, this European satellite uses a pioneering technology - interferometric microwave radiometry - never used before for Earth observation, together with complex data processing to extract salinity information from the radiometric measurements.
Until very recently no salinity information could be retrieved in the Mediterranean Sea due to its relatively small size and the presence in the region of man-made emissions at the same frequency used by SMOS, 1.4 GHz. Microwave radiation from land surfaces contaminates the measurements over oceans up to several hundreds of kilometers from the coast, and illegal emissions can completely saturate the signal far away from the emitting source. Thanks to a new dedicated data processing, the SMOS Barcelona Expert Centre succeeded in producing for the first time sea surface salinity maps in the Mediterranean. These experimental products will soon be distributed in real time under an operational basis.
For more information see http://cp34-bec.cmima.csic.es/