Type Oceanographic cruise
Ship L'Atalante
Ship owner Ifremer
Dates 11/02/2021 - 09/03/2021
Chief scientist(s) SUTHERLAND Peter, MARIE Louis ORCID


Centre Ifremer Bretagne

ZI Pointe du Diable

CS 10070

29280 Plouzané

+33 (0)2 98 22 42 76

DOI 10.17600/18001349

SUMOS was designed to provide in situ data for the calibration and validation of the China-France Ocean SATellite (CFOSAT).  CFOSAT measures wind and waves using a space-based radar.  SUMOS measured winds and waves along the CFOSAT ground track during 14 satellite passes.  The data collected will be used to check and tune the CFOSAT processing algorithms in order to improve accuracy of global wind and wave estimates.  A second motivation for the campaign was to address more general scientific questions relating to interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean; specifically the modulation of air-sea fluxes of energy, mass, and momentum by the surface wave field.

For each satellite pass, an array of drifting buoys was deployed, and the ship was positioned at the centre of the array for 11 of the 14 passes.  The experiments consisted of roughly the following:

  • Deploying a buoy array in advance of a given satellite pass.
  • Positioning the ship at the centre of the array and sampling for several hours preceding and following the satellite overflight.
  • Recovering the buoy array and moving to the next array location.

This provided high-quality measurements of ocean properties and the ability to estimate their spatial variability over a range of scales.  These multiple deployments provided a broad parameter space, with winds of 5-17 m/s and waves of Hs = 2-5 m.

Key shipboard instrumentation included X-band wave radar, stereo video, and polarimetric imagery.  Deployed buoys included wave buoys, FLAME (air-sea flux) buoys, and an ADCP buoy.

SUMOS in addition to the ship-based component aboard the N/O Thalassa, a very closely coordinated airborne component (ATR-42 SAFIRE) made radar measurements of the surface wave field (KuROS, KaRADOC).  The 17 research flights conducted during the experiment were synchronized in space and time with the in situ and satellite data acquisitions.

Data managed by SISMER



Bruch William, Yohia C, Tulet P, Limoges A, Sutherland Peter, Van Eijk A M J, Missamou T, Piazzola J (2023). Atmospheric Sea Spray Modeling in the North-East Atlantic Ocean using Tunnel-Derived Generation Functions and the SUMOS Cruise Data set. Journal Of Geophysical Research-atmospheres, 128(15), e2022JD038330 (23p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :