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The study has been motivated by the desire to assess the performance of sea surface salinity (SSS) from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite launched by the European Space Agency. Daily Level 3 product on a 0.25° × 0.25° grid for the year 2010 has been used for this assessment in the Indian Ocean. Various data sets, like the in situ data sets available from the Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) buoys and Argo floats and also the data sets from modular ocean model version 3 simulations, have been utilized for this purpose. Comparison made at two buoy locations suggests good quality of SMOS SSS with root-mean-square error of the order of 0.36 and 0.34 psu. The triple collocation method, which explicitly takes into account the error characteristics of the SMOS, Argo, and model data sets, has been used for further validation of the SMOS data. Since the Indian Ocean exhibits characteristically different patterns of SSS in its different subregions, the study area has been divided into different such subregions. The SMOS-derived SSS appears to be of very good quality in the equatorial Indian Ocean and southern Indian Ocean, while the data are of poorer quality in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal possibly because of the errors in SSS retrieval due to the land contamination and strong winds.
Date of Publication: May 2013