SMOS Local Oscillators impact on Sea Surface Salinity quality

The local oscillators (LOs) of the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission payload are used to shift the operating frequency of the 72 receivers to an optimal intermediate frequency needed for the signal processing. The LO temperature variations produce phase errors in the visibility, which result in a blurring of the reconstructed brightness temperature (Tb) image.

At the end of the commissioning phase, it was decided to calibrate the LO every 10 min while waiting for a more in-depth analysis. During short periods of time, the LO calibration has been performed every 2 min to assess the impact of a higher calibration rate on the quality of the data.

By means of a decimation experiment, the relative errors of 6- and 10-min calibration interval data sets are estimated using the 2 min as a reference. A noticeable systematic across- and along-track pattern of amplitude ±0.3 K is observed for Tb differences between 10 and 2 min, whereas this is reduced between 6 and 2 min.

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