Aquarius Maps: Sea Surface Salinity at High Latitudes

  • Sea surface salinity, January 5-12, 2012

    January 5-12, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, January 12-19, 2012

    January 12-19, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, January 19-26, 2012

    January 19-26, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, January 26 - February 2, 2012

    January 26 - February 2, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, February 2-9, 2012

    February 2-9, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, February 9-16, 2012

    February 9-16, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, February 16-23, 2012

    February 16-23, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, February 23 - March 1, 2012

    February 23 - March 1, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 1-8, 2012

    March 1-8, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 8-15, 2012

    March 8-15, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 15-22, 2012

    March 15-22, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 22-29, 2012

    March 22-29, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 29 - April 5, 2012

    March 29 - April 5, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, April 5-12, 2012

    April 5-12, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, April 12-19, 2012

    April 12-19, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, April 19-26, 2012

    April 19-26, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, April 26 - May 3, 2012

    April 26 - May 3, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 3-10, 2012

    May 3-10, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 10-17, 2012

    May 10-17, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 17-24, 2012

    May 17-24, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 24-31, 2012

    May 24-31, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 31 - June 7, 2012

    May 31 - June 7, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, June 7-14, 2012

    June 7-14, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, June 14-21, 2012

    June 14-21, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, June 21-28, 2012

    June 21-28, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, June 28 - July 5, 2012

    June 28 - July 5, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, July 5-12, 2012

    July 5-12, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, July 12-19, 2012

    July 12-19, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, July 19-26, 2012

    July 19-26, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, July 26 - August 2, 2012

    July 26 - August 2, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, August 2-9, 2012

    August 2-9, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, August 9-16, 2012

    August 9-16, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, August 16-23, 2012

    August 16-23, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, August 23 - September 6, 2012

    August 23 - September 6, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, September 6-13, 2012

    September 6-13, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, September 13-20, 2012

    September 13-20, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, September 20-27, 2012

    September 20-27, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, September 27 - October 4, 2012

    September 27 - October 4, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, October 4-11, 2012

    October 4-11, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, October 11-18, 2012

    October 11-18, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, October 18-25, 2012

    October 18-25, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, October 25 - November 1, 2012

    October 25 - November 1, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 1-8, 2012

    November 1-8, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 8-15, 2012

    November 8-15, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 15-22, 2012

    November 15-22, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 22-29, 2012

    November 22-29, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 29 - December 6, 2012

    November 29 - December 6, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, December 6-13, 2012

    December 6-13, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, December 13-20, 2012

    December 13-20, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, December 20-27, 2012

    December 20-27, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, December 27, 2012 - January 3, 2013

    December 27, 2012 - January 3, 2013

  • Credit

  • Credit

Slideshow: 2012 sea surface salinity maps of the Northern Hemisphere ocean (hover over images to pause the slideshow).

These weekly gridded maps are made using the Aquarius sea surface salinity retrievals. They were obtained with algorithms developed by the Calibration/Validation working group, and applied to the microwave (L-band, about 1.4 GHz) brightness temperature measurements along the spacecraft swath. These maps show sea surface salinity expressed in practical salinity unit (psu) in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at latitudes higher than 50°. Blue colors represent lower salinity, whereas red colors represent higher salinity. The date shown on the images (below) is the first day of that weekly measurement.

Salinity can only be retrieved from space when the ocean is not covered by sea ice. Sea ice is frozen ocean water. It forms, grows, and melts according to the seasons, but some sea ice remains year round in certain regions of both the Arctic and Antarctic. When a significant fraction of sea ice is present in the Aquarius measurements, salinity cannot be retrieved accurately. These areas were masked on the maps. Other areas without data correspond to either a lack of observations due to orbit geometry and spacecraft maneuvers, or are coastal regions where salinity is inaccurate.

The data presented are a weekly gridded average of the swath data distributed by NASA's Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC) and provided by Ludovic Brucker (1,2) and Emmanuel Dinnat (1,3).

Aquarius Level-3 weekly polar-gridded data sets can be downloaded from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

(1) NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Cryospheric Sciences Lab, Greenbelt MD, USA
(2) Universities Space Research Association, Greenbelt MD, USA
(3) Chapman University, Orange CA, USA

Aquarius Retrieved Sea Surface Salinity in the Northern High-Latitude Ocean

When ocean surface salinity retrievals are possible in the Arctic Ocean, values are smaller than for other regions. One can also see that blue colors are usually present in the vicinity of the sea ice margin. This may result from sea ice contamination of the Aquarius measurements, and do not necessarily reflect a low salinity.

These maps also show the significant difference between the saltier Atlantic Ocean and the fresher Pacific Ocean. Ocean surface salinity in polar regions varies seasonally as ice freezes (i.e., leaving saltier water in the ocean) and melts (i.e., adding fresh water to the ocean).


Maps By Year:  2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 27, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 20, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 13, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 6, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 29, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 22, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 15, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 8, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 1, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 25, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 18, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 11, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 4, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 27, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 20, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 13, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 6, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 23, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 16, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 9, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 2, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 26, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 19, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 12, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 5, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 28, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 21, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 14, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 7, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 31, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 24, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 17, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 10, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 3, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 26, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 19, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 12, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 5, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 29, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 22, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 15, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 8, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 1, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 23, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 16, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 9, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 2, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 26, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 19, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 12, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 5, 2012

Aquarius Retrieved Sea Surface Salinity in the Southern High-Latitude Ocean

  • Sea surface salinity, January 5-12, 2012

    January 5-12, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, January 12-19, 2012

    January 12-19, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, January 19-26, 2012

    January 19-26, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, January 26 - February 2, 2012

    January 26 - February 2, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, February 2-9, 2012

    February 2-9, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, February 9-16, 2012

    February 9-16, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, February 16-23, 2012

    February 16-23, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, February 23 - March 1, 2012

    February 23 - March 1, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 1-8, 2012

    March 1-8, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 8-15, 2012

    March 8-15, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 15-22, 2012

    March 15-22, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 22-29, 2012

    March 22-29, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, March 29 - April 5, 2012

    March 29 - April 5, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, April 5-12, 2012

    April 5-12, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, April 12-19, 2012

    April 12-19, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, April 19-26, 2012

    April 19-26, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, April 26 - May 3, 2012

    April 26 - May 3, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 3-10, 2012

    May 3-10, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 10-17, 2012

    May 10-17, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 17-24, 2012

    May 17-24, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 24-31, 2012

    May 24-31, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, May 31 - June 7, 2012

    May 31 - June 7, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, June 7-14, 2012

    June 7-14, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, June 14-21, 2012

    June 14-21, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, June 21-28, 2012

    June 21-28, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, June 28 - July 5, 2012

    June 28 - July 5, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, July 5-12, 2012

    July 5-12, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, July 12-19, 2012

    July 12-19, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, July 19-26, 2012

    July 19-26, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, July 26 - August 2, 2012

    July 26 - August 2, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, August 2-9, 2012

    August 2-9, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, August 9-16, 2012

    August 9-16, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, August 16-23, 2012

    August 16-23, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, August 23 - September 6, 2012

    August 23 - September 6, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, September 6-13, 2012

    September 6-13, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, September 13-20, 2012

    September 13-20, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, September 20-27, 2012

    September 20-27, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, September 27 - October 4, 2012

    September 27 - October 4, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, October 4-11, 2012

    October 4-11, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, October 11-18, 2012

    October 11-18, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, October 18-25, 2012

    October 18-25, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, October 25 - November 1, 2012

    October 25 - November 1, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 1-8, 2012

    November 1-8, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 8-15, 2012

    November 8-15, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 15-22, 2012

    November 15-22, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 22-29, 2012

    November 22-29, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, November 29 - December 6, 2012

    November 29 - December 6, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, December 6-13, 2012

    December 6-13, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, December 13-20, 2012

    December 13-20, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, December 20-27, 2012

    December 20-27, 2012

  • Sea surface salinity, December 27, 2012 - January 3, 2013

    December 27, 2012 - January 3, 2013

  • Credit

  • Credit

Slideshow: 2012 sea surface salinity maps of the Southern Hemisphere ocean (hover over images to pause the slideshow).

The Southern Ocean is an important source for deep water formations, and therefore the thermohaline circulation. Downwelling of upper layer water is induced by surface cooling and salt rejection during the formation and growth of sea ice. However, sea surface salinity retrieval in the Southern Ocean is challenging. There are strong winds, and the circulation in the Southern Ocean is dominated by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which is regarded as the largest World's ocean current. Salinity retrieval is less accurate for very rough sea surfaces. In addition, waters around Antarctica are cold. Aquarius measurements are less sensitive to salinity in cold waters. Finally, the presence of sea ice add an additional complexity to the monitoring of salinity in the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere.


Maps By Year:  2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 27, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 20, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 13, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 6, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 29, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 22, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 15, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 8, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 1, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 25, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 18, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 11, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 4, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 27, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 20, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 13, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 6, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 23, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 16, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 9, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 2, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 26, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 19, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 12, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 5, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 28, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 21, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 14, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 7, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 31, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 24, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 17, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 10, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 3, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 26, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 19, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 12, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 5, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 29, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 22, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 15, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 8, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 1, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 23, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 16, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 9, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 2, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 26, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 19, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 12, 2012
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 5, 2012
Publications
Brucker, L., Dinnat, E.P., and Koenig, L.S. (2014a). Weekly Gridded Aquarius L-band Radiometer/Scatterometer Observations and Salinity Retrievals Over the Polar Regions - Part 1: Product Description, The Cryosphere, 8, 905-913, doi:10.5194/tc-8-905-2014.
Brucker, L., Dinnat, E.P., and Koenig, L.S. (2014b). Weekly Gridded Aquarius L-band Radiometer/Scatterometer Observations and Salinity Retrievals Over the Polar Regions - Part 2: Initial Product Analysis, The Cryosphere, 8, 915-930, doi:10.5194/tc-8-915-2014.
Brucker, L., Dinnat, E.P., Picard, G., and Champollion, N. (2014c). Effect of Snow Surface Metamorphism on Aquarius L-Band Radiometer Observations at Dome C, Antarctica, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 52 (11), 1-10, doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2014.2312102.