Satellite Salinity Observing System: Recent Discoveries and the Way Forward

Type Article
Date 2019-05
Language English
Author(s) Vinogradova Nadya1, 2, Lee Tong3, Boutin Jacqueline4, Drushka Kyla5, Fournier Severine3, Sabia Roberto6, Stammer Detlef7, Bayler Eric8, Reul NicolasORCID9, Gordon Arnold10, Melnichenko Oleg11, Li Laifang12, Hackert Eric13, Martin Matthew14, Kolodziejczyk NicolasORCID4, Hasson Audrey4, Brown Shannon3, Misra Sidharth3, Lindstrom Eric1
Affiliation(s) 1 : NASA Headquarters, Science Mission Directorate, Washington, DC, United States
2 : Cambridge Climate Institute, Boston, MA, United States
3 : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States
4 : LOCEAN/IPSL, Sorbonne University, Paris, France
5 : Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States
6 : Telespazio VEGA UK Ltd., Frascati, Italy
7 : Remote Sensing and Assimilation, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
8 : STAR - NOAA / NESDIS, College Park, MD, United States
9 : Ifremer, Laboratory for Ocean Physics and Satellite Remote Sensing, Brest, France
10 : Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY, United States
11 : International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawai‘i System, Honolulu, HI, United States
12 : Nicolas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC, United States
13 : NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
14 : Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom
Source Frontiers In Marine Science (2296-7745) (Frontiers Media SA), 2019-05 , Vol. 6 , N. 243 , P. 23p.
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2019.00243
WOS© Times Cited 96
Keyword(s) salinity, remote sensing, Earth's observing systems, future satellite missions, SMAP, SMOS, Aquarius

Advances in L-band microwave satellite radiometry in the past decade, pioneered by ESA’s SMOS and NASA’s Aquarius and SMAP missions, have demonstrated an unprecedented capability to observe global sea surface salinity (SSS) from space. Measurements from these missions are the only means to probe the very-near surface salinity (top cm), providing a unique monitoring capability for the interfacial exchanges of water between the atmosphere and the upper-ocean, and delivering a wealth of information on various salinity processes in the ocean, linkages with the climate and water cycle, including land-sea connections, and providing constraints for ocean prediction models. The satellite SSS data are complimentary to the existing in situ systems such as Argo that provide accurate depiction of large-scale salinity variability in the open ocean but under-sample mesoscale variability, coastal oceans and marginal seas, and energetic regions such as boundary currents and fronts. In particular, salinity remote sensing has proven valuable to systematically monitor the open oceans as well as coastal regions up to approximately 40 km from the coasts. This is critical to addressing societally relevant topics, such as land-sea linkages, coastal-open ocean exchanges, research in the carbon cycle, near-surface mixing, and air-sea exchange of gas and mass. In this paper, we provide a community perspective on the major achievements of satellite SSS for the aforementioned topics, the unique capability of satellite salinity observing system and its complementarity with other platforms, uncertainty characteristics of satellite SSS, and measurement versus sampling errors in relation to in situ salinity measurements. We also discuss the need for technological innovations to improve the accuracy, resolution, and coverage of satellite SSS, and the way forward to both continue and enhance salinity remote sensing as part of the integrated Earth Observing System in order to address societal needs.

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Vinogradova Nadya, Lee Tong, Boutin Jacqueline, Drushka Kyla, Fournier Severine, Sabia Roberto, Stammer Detlef, Bayler Eric, Reul Nicolas, Gordon Arnold, Melnichenko Oleg, Li Laifang, Hackert Eric, Martin Matthew, Kolodziejczyk Nicolas, Hasson Audrey, Brown Shannon, Misra Sidharth, Lindstrom Eric (2019). Satellite Salinity Observing System: Recent Discoveries and the Way Forward. Frontiers In Marine Science, 6(243), 23p. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :