France: As parts of central Europe are battling with the most extensive floods in centuries, forecasters are hoping that ESA’s SMOS satellite will help to improve the accuracy of flood prediction in the future.
The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission monitors the amount of water held in the surface layers of the soil and the concentration of salt in the top layer of seawater.
This information is helping scientists understand more about how water is cycled between the oceans, atmosphere and land – Earth’s water cycle. It is also helping to improve weather forecasts.
ESA’s SMOS mission scientist, Matthias Drusch, explains, “Data from SMOS can be used to monitor the saturation of the soil.”
“At the end of May we see that the soil was almost fully saturated, with record values for moisture. More rain meant that it immediately ran off as the surplus water could not soak into the soil, and this resulted in these terrible floods,” he added.