We are pleased to release the latest version of the cloud-free BEC L4 soil moisture at 1 km over Europe. The L4 soil moisture v4 maps are produced from the synergy of:
- SMOS L1C brightness temperature,
- European Center for Medium Weather Forecast (ECMWF) land surface temperature (LST),
- Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).
The downscaling technique uses the BEC L3 soil moisture v3 as benchmark.
A detailed explanation of the downscaling algorithm and the resulting product is included in BEC Land Products Description
The circulation in the Algerian Basin is characterized by the presence of fresh-core eddies that propagate along the coast or at distances between 100-200 km from the coast. Significant improvement in the processing of the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) data have allowed to produce, for the first time, satellite Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) maps in the Mediterranean Sea that capture the signature of Algerian eddies. SMOS data can be used to track them for long periods of time, especially during winter. SMOS SSS maps are well correlated with in situ measurements although the former has a smaller dynamical range. Despite this limitation, SMOS SSS maps capture the key dynamics of Algerian eddies allowing to retrieve velocities from SSS with the correct sign of vorticity. These results have been recently published in Geophysical Research Letters (Isern-Fontanet et al. 2016).
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 (http://comfuturo.es/proyectos/) granted by the Fundación General del CSIC (http://www.fgcsic.es/) and through the GlobCurrent project (http://www.globcurrent.org/) funded by ESA.
The SMOS Mediterranean SSS products announced in a previous post have now been made available at our webpage. A preliminary quality report can be accessed here.
At Barcelona Expert Center (BEC) we are able to provide a Level 4 (L4) Surface Soil Moisture (SSM) product with 1 km spatial resolution that meets the requirements of land hydrology applications. To do so, we use a downscaling method that combines highly-accurate, but low-resolution, SMOS radiometric information with high resolution, but low sensitivity, visible-to-infrared imagery to SSM across spatial scales. A sample L4 SSM map from September 1, 2014 (6 AM) is shown in Figure 1.
Fig. 1. SMOS-BEC L4 product from September 1, 2014 (6 AM).
This downscaling approach was first presented in  along with results of its application to a set of SMOS images acquired during the commissioning phase over the Oznet network, South-East Australia. Using reprocessed SMOS data obtained with the latest L1 and L2 processors, we have further developed and validated this technique; we now use SMOS polarimetric and multi-angular information in the downscaling method, which results in improved fine-scale soil moisture estimates .
The 2014-15 edition of the Barcelona World Race (BWR) has had an active ocean observation contribution that will provide new data about the ocean water dynamics and its environmental quality.
In addition to contribute to the build-up of the Argo system by deploying eight Argo profilers during January 2015, the One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton ship carried a Sea Bird SBE37-SI MicroCAT instrument to collect continuous (every minute) sea surface temperature and salinity measurements.
The One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton. Photography by Mireia Perelló from www.barcelonaworldrace.org
Since 2012, high-resolution soil moisture products are produced and distributed by BEC as research products. These soil moisture maps, at a spatial resolution of the order of 1 km, can be used to evaluate the soil water content for agriculture management purposes, and, especially important under conditions of extreme drought, to locate specific areas with high risk of fire by combining the soil moisture information with forecasts of air temperature and wind intensity. This was operationally done in the Barcelona area during the 2012 summer.
New products at other areas of the World are presently under development: High resolution soil moisture image, descending passes on April 3, 2013