Knowledge for Development

Soil moisture and ocean salinity satellite ready for launch

Author:

Date: 20/11/2009

Introduction:

A new European Earth observation satellite will be launched in the early hours of Monday the 2nd of November 2009 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The European Space Agency Soil Moisture & Ocean Salinity satellite aims to measure both moisture levels in the earth's soils and the saltiness (salinity) of the surface waters of the world's oceans from space for the very first time. British scientists and engineers have been involved in the mission from the start. Global measurements of salinity and soil moisture will improve our understanding of how water is transported around the earth, and how it circulates around the oceans, and lead to more accurate weather forecasts and climate simulations. (Source: Natural Environment Research Council, 29 October 2009)