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SMOS+ SOS: Call for Proposal is now open for competitive tender

16 April 2012

The ITT on the STSE, SMOS+ SOS, Ref. AO 1-7099 in ESA EMITS, was issued 16 April 2012 with a closing date of 29 June 2012.

The European Space Agency (ESA) hereby invites all interested companies from all eligible STSE participating countries to submit a tender for the SMOS+ OCEAN SURFACE OCEAN SALINITY AND SYNERGY procurement. If companies are not yet registered as an ESA bidder, they are invited to obtain access to EMITS by completing a questionnaire, which can be found at the indicated URL below.

Measurements of ocean salinity, its distribution and variability are fundamental to improve our understanding and accurate quantification ocean circulation. Numerical Ocean Prediction (NOP) systems provide a framework to explore ocean circulation and ocean dynamics using multi-variate data assimilation tools. Modern NOP systems primarily assimilate estimates of sea surface height (SSH, derived from satellite RADAR altimeters), sea surface temperature (SST, derived from satellite infrared and passive microwave radiometers) together with in situ data on a routine basis. In the absence of any satellite capability, only sparsely distributed in situ salinity measurements are available to constrain the NOP systems. The Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) specified a requirement for global observation of ocean salinity with an accuracy of 0.1 practical salinity units (1 psu = 1 g salt in 1 kg of seawater), every 10 days at 200 km spatial resolution.

The ESA Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission, launched on 2 November2009, provides measurements of the sea surface salinity (SSS) at a resolution of 200 x 200 km every 10-30 days. SMOS measurements represent the emission from a shallow layer (few centimeters) of the ocean surface that will be significantly influenced by freshwater inputs from rivers, precipitation and evaporation.

In terms of assimilating SMOS SSS using NOP systems this poses particular challenges:
How does the salinity measurement made by SMOS relate to the salinity at several meters depth?
How should an ocean model best assimilate SMOS SSS and project the SSS signal down into the deeper model layers?
Which SMOS products are best for use by NOP systems?
Which NOP techniques and formulations are best suited to SMOS SSS data?

The aim of this activity is to enhance understanding of ocean circulation by fostering the scientific application of SSS products derived from SMOS using Numerical Ocean Prediction (NOP) systems. The specific objectives of this activity are to:
Assess the most appropriate SMOS data streams required to (a) Evaluate the relationship between SMOS SSS measurements and major salinity features (e.g. river plumes) and (b) improve their treatment in NOP systems making use of model simulations, data assimilation methods and alternative sources of formulations (e.g., freshwater inputs);
Working in synergy with other EO and in-situ measurements, investigate the potential of SMOS SSS measurements to understand and improve estimates of global ocean thermohaline circulation and secondary surface ocean circulations (e.g., E-P driven Goldborogh-Stommel);
Contribute to on-going efforts to monitor and quantify the performance of SMOS SSS estimates; Develop a Scientific Roadmap towards the full scientific integration of SMOS data into ocean circulation models.


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