Satellite observations of the sea surface salinity response to tropical cyclones

Type Article
Date 2021-01
Language English
Author(s) Reul NicolasORCID1, Chapron BertrandORCID1, Grodsky Semyon A.2, Guimbard Sebastien3, Kudryavtsev Vladimir4, 5, Foltz Gregory R.6, Balaguru Karthik7
Affiliation(s) 1 : Laboratoire d'Océanographie physique et spatiale, Univ Brest, Ifremer, CNRS, IRD, LOPS, F‐29280 Plouzané, France
2 : Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, USA
3 : OceanScope, Brest, France
4 : Satellite Oceanography Laboratory, Russian State Hydrometeorological, University Saint‐Petersburg, Russia
5 : Remote Sensing Department, Marine Hydrophysical Institute Sevastopol, Russia
6 : NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Miami, FL, USA
7 : Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Seattle, WA, USA
Source Geophysical Research Letters (0094-8276) (American Geophysical Union (AGU)), 2021-01 , Vol. 48 , N. 1 , P. e2020GL091478 (10p.)
DOI 10.1029/2020GL091478
WOS© Times Cited 24
Keyword(s) sea surface salinity, tropical cyclones

Decade‐long satellite Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) observations show that rain dilution prevails in wakes of Tropical Depressions (∼‐0.1 pss) and Tropical Storms (∼‐0.05 pss) on the left (right) side of Northern (Southern) Hemisphere storms. For stronger storms, the rain‐induced dilution is dominated by the saltier water entrainment, leading to surface median salinification of 0.3 pss for the most intense storms, peaking on the right‐hand side at around twice the maximum wind radius. The magnitude of the salty wake increases for stronger slowly‐moving storms. The vertical salinity gradient in the upper ocean is a key factor explaining the geographic distribution of the SSS response. A striking example is the systematic mixing of fresh near‐surface river plume waters with saltier subsurface waters. It is also found that barrier layers lead to saltier and warmer storm wakes compared to wakes produced over barrier layer free areas.

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Reul Nicolas, Chapron Bertrand, Grodsky Semyon A., Guimbard Sebastien, Kudryavtsev Vladimir, Foltz Gregory R., Balaguru Karthik (2021). Satellite observations of the sea surface salinity response to tropical cyclones. Geophysical Research Letters, 48(1), e2020GL091478 (10p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :