||SMOS is an ESA Explorer Opportunity science mission, a technology demonstration satellite project in ESA's Living Planet Program, in cooperation with CNES (France) and CDTI (Center for Technological and Industrial Development), Madrid, Spain.
The main science objective of the SMOS mission is to demonstrate observations of SSS (Sea Surface Salinity) over oceans and SM (Soil Moisture) over land to advance climatologic, meteorologic, hydrologic, and oceanographic applications. Soil moisture is a key variable in the hydrologic cycle. Over land, water and energy fluxes at the surface/atmosphere interface are strongly dependent upon soil moisture. SM is an important variable for numerical weather and climate models as well as in surface hydrology and in vegetation monitoring. Knowledge of the global distribution of salt in the oceans and of its annual and inter-annual variability, is crucial for understanding the role of the ocean and the climate system. Ocean circulation is mainly driven by the momentum and heat fluxes through the atmosphere/ocean interface, it is dependent on water density gradients, which in turn can be traced by the observation of SSS and SST (Sea Surface Temperature).