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7 The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) remote sensing satellite was launched by the European Space Agency in 2009. The L-band brightness temperature observed by SMOS has been used to produce estimates of both soil moisture and τ , the optical thickness of the land surface. Although τ should theoretically be proportional to the amount of vegetation present within a SMOS pixel, several initial investigations have not been able to confirm this expected behavior. However, when the noise indoi:10.1016/j.rse.2016.02.043 fatcat:jwx2gnsutbcyhbueliwa7gqlgi