Sea surface salinity as a proxy for Arctic Ocean freshwater changes

Type Article
Date 2020-07
Language English
Author(s) Fournier Severine1, Lee Tong1, Wang Xiaochun2, Armitage Thomas W. K.3, Wang Ou1, Fukumori Ichiro1, Kwok Ron1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology Pasadena California, USA
2 : Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles California, USA
3 : Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland College Park Maryland ,USA
Source Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (2169-9275) (American Geophysical Union (AGU)), 2020-07 , Vol. 125 , N. 7 , P. e2020JC016110 (13p.)
DOI 10.1029/2020JC016110
Note This article also appears in: The Arctic: An AGU Joint Special Collection
Keyword(s) Arctic, sea surface height, gravimetry, sea surface salinity, freshwater

The changing Arctic freshwater content and distribution have significant implications for ocean circulation, climate, and water and biogeochemical cycles. The paucity of in‐situ salinity measurements in the Arctic Ocean has limited our ability to study Arctic‐Ocean freshwater variability. Although satellite‐derived sea surface height (SSH) and ocean bottom pressure (OBP) have been used together to infer depth‐integrated freshwater content changes, these measurements are limited in sampling and resolution. Motivated by the recent development of sea surface salinity (SSS) remote sensing, we explore the use of SSS as a proxy for Arctic freshwater changes. As a first step, here we conduct a proof‐of‐concept study by analyzing the output of an ocean‐ice state estimation product. We find that SSS variations are coherent with those of SSH‐minus‐OBP across the Arctic basin (with R ~ ‐0.8) except for in the center of the Beaufort Gyre and the region affected by the subpolar North Atlantic inflow. On Arctic shelves, the linear regression coefficient between SSS and SSH‐minus‐OBP is ‐0.3 pss/cm or larger in magnitude. The results suggest that SSS is a good proxy for Arctic freshwater changes, and satellite SSH‐minus‐OBP can be used to evaluate satellite SSS quality.

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Fournier Severine, Lee Tong, Wang Xiaochun, Armitage Thomas W. K., Wang Ou, Fukumori Ichiro, Kwok Ron (2020). Sea surface salinity as a proxy for Arctic Ocean freshwater changes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 125(7), e2020JC016110 (13p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :