Sea Surface Salinity Observations from Space with the SMOS Satellite: A New Means to Monitor the Marine Branch of the Water Cycle

Type Article
Date 2014-05
Language English
Author(s) Reul NicolasORCID1, 2, Fournier Severine1, Boutin Jacqueline3, Hernandez Olga3, Maes Christophe4, Chapron Bertrand1, Alory Gael4, Quilfen Yves1, Tenerelli Joseph5, Morisset Simmon3, Kerr Yann6, Mecklenburg Susanne7, Delwart Steven7
Affiliation(s) 1 : Inst Francais Rech Exploitat Mer, Lab Oceanog Spatiale, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
2 : Ctr Mediterranee, Zone Portuaire Bregaillon, F-83507 La Seyne Sur Mer, France.
3 : UMR 7159 CNRS UPMC IRD MNHN, Lab Oceanog & Climat Experimentat & Approches Num, Paris, France.
4 : Univ Toulouse, LEGOS, OMP, CNAP, Toulouse, France.
5 : CLS Radar Div, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
6 : CESBIO, Toulouse, France.
7 : ESA ESRIN, Frascati, Italy.
Source Surveys In Geophysics (0169-3298) (Springer), 2014-05 , Vol. 35 , N. 3 , P. 681-722
DOI 10.1007/s10712-013-9244-0
WOS© Times Cited 99
Keyword(s) Sea surface salinity, SMOS satellite, Passive microwave remote sensing, Oceanic freshwater cycle
Abstract While it is well known that the ocean is one of the most important component of the climate system, with a heat capacity 1,100 times greater than the atmosphere, the ocean is also the primary reservoir for freshwater transport to the atmosphere and largest component of the global water cycle. Two new satellite sensors, the ESA Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and the NASA Aquarius SAC-D missions, are now providing the first space-borne measurements of the sea surface salinity (SSS). In this paper, we present examples demonstrating how SMOS-derived SSS data are being used to better characterize key land–ocean and atmosphere–ocean interaction processes that occur within the marine hydrological cycle. In particular, SMOS with its ocean mapping capability provides observations across the world’s largest tropical ocean fresh pool regions, and we discuss from intraseasonal to interannual precipitation impacts as well as large-scale river runoff from the Amazon–Orinoco and Congo rivers and its offshore advection. Synergistic multi-satellite analyses of these new surface salinity data sets combined with sea surface temperature, dynamical height and currents from altimetry, surface wind, ocean color, rainfall estimates, and in situ observations are shown to yield new freshwater budget insight. Finally, SSS observations from the SMOS and Aquarius/SAC-D sensors are combined to examine the response of the upper ocean to tropical cyclone passage including the potential role that a freshwater-induced upper ocean barrier layer may play in modulating surface cooling and enthalpy flux in tropical cyclone track regions.
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Reul Nicolas, Fournier Severine, Boutin Jacqueline, Hernandez Olga, Maes Christophe, Chapron Bertrand, Alory Gael, Quilfen Yves, Tenerelli Joseph, Morisset Simmon, Kerr Yann, Mecklenburg Susanne, Delwart Steven (2014). Sea Surface Salinity Observations from Space with the SMOS Satellite: A New Means to Monitor the Marine Branch of the Water Cycle. Surveys In Geophysics, 35(3), 681-722. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :