Aquarius Maps: Sea Surface Salinity at High Latitudes

  • Sea surface salinity, January 3-10, 2013

    January 3-10, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, January 10-17, 2013

    January 10-17, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, January 17-24, 2013

    January 17-24, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, January 24-31, 2013

    January 24-31, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, January 31 - February 7, 2013

    January 31 - February 7, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, February 7-14, 2013

    February 7-14, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, February 14-21, 2013

    February 14-21, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, February 21-28, 2013

    February 21-28, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, February 28 - March 7, 2013

    February 28 - March 7, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, March 7-14, 2013

    March 7-14, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, March 14-21, 2013

    March 14-21, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, March 21-28, 2013

    March 21-28, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, March 28 - April 4, 2013

    March 28 - April 4, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, April 4-11, 2013

    April 4-11, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, April 11-18, 2013

    April 11-18, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, April 18-25, 2013

    April 18-25, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, April 25 - May 2, 2013

    April 25 - May 2, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 2-9, 2013

    May 2-9, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 9-16, 2013

    May 9-16, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 16-23, 2013

    May 16-23, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 23-30, 2013

    May 23-30, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 30 - June 6, 2013

    May 30 - June 6, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, June 6-13, 2013

    June 6-13, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, June 13-20, 2013

    June 13-20, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, June 20-27, 2013

    June 20-27, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, June 27- July 4, 2013

    June 27- July 4, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, July 4-11, 2013

    July 4-11, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, July 11-18, 2013

    July 11-18, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, July 18-25, 2013

    July 18-25, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, July 25 - August 1, 2013

    July 25 - August 1, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 1-8, 2013

    August 1-8, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 8-15, 2013

    August 8-15, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 15-22, 2013

    August 15-22, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 22-29, 2013

    August 22-29, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 29 - September 5, 2013

    August 29 - September 5, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, September 5-12, 2013

    September 5-12, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, September 12-19, 2013

    September 12-19, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, September 19-26, 2013

    September 19-26, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, September 26 - October 1, 2013

    September 26 - October 1, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 3-10, 2013

    October 3-10, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 10-17, 2013

    October 10-17, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 17-24, 2013

    October 17-24, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 24-31, 2013

    October 24-31, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 31 - November 7, 2013

    October 31 - November 7, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, November 7-14, 2013

    November 7-14, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, November 14-21, 2013

    November 14-21, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, November 21-28, 2013

    November 21-28, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, November 28 - December 5, 2013

    November 28 - December 5, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, December 5-12, 2013

    December 5-12, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, December 12-19, 2013

    December 12-19, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, December 19-26, 2013

    December 19-26, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, December 26, 2013 - January 2, 2014

    December 26, 2013 - January 2, 2014

  • Credit

  • Credit

Slideshow: 2013 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 26, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 19, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 12, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 5, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 28, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 21, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 14, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 7, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 31, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 24, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 17, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 10, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 3, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 26, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 19, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 12, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 5, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 29, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 22, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 15, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 8, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 1, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 25, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 18, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 11, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 4, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 27, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 20, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 13, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 6, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 30, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 23, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 16, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 9, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 2, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 25, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 18, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 11, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 4, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 28, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 21, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 14, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 7, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 28, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 21, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 14, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 7, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 31, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 24, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 17, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 10, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 3, 2013

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

  • Sea surface salinity, January 3-10, 2013

    January 3-10, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, January 10-17, 2013

    January 10-17, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, January 17-24, 2013

    January 17-24, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, January 24-31, 2013

    January 24-31, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, January 31 - February 7, 2013

    January 31 - February 7, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, February 7-14, 2013

    February 7-14, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, February 14-21, 2013

    February 14-21, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, February 21-28, 2013

    February 21-28, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, February 28 - March 7, 2013

    February 28 - March 7, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, March 7-14, 2013

    March 7-14, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, March 14-21, 2013

    March 14-21, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, March 21-28, 2013

    March 21-28, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, March 28 - April 4, 2013

    March 28 - April 4, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, April 4-11, 2013

    April 4-11, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, April 11-18, 2013

    April 11-18, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, April 18-25, 2013

    April 18-25, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, April 25 - May 2, 2013

    April 25 - May 2, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 2-9, 2013

    May 2-9, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 9-16, 2013

    May 9-16, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 16-23, 2013

    May 16-23, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 23-30, 2013

    May 23-30, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, May 30 - June 6, 2013

    May 30 - June 6, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, June 6-13, 2013

    June 6-13, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, June 13-20, 2013

    June 13-20, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, June 20-27, 2013

    June 20-27, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, June 27- July 4, 2013

    June 27- July 4, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, July 4-11, 2013

    July 4-11, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, July 11-18, 2013

    July 11-18, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, July 18-25, 2013

    July 18-25, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, July 25 - August 1, 2013

    July 25 - August 1, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 1-8, 2013

    August 1-8, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 8-15, 2013

    August 8-15, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 15-22, 2013

    August 15-22, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 22-29, 2013

    August 22-29, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, August 29 - September 5, 2013

    August 29 - September 5, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, September 5-12, 2013

    September 5-12, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, September 12-19, 2013

    September 12-19, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, September 19-26, 2013

    September 19-26, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, September 26 - October 1, 2013

    September 26 - October 1, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 3-10, 2013

    October 3-10, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 10-17, 2013

    October 10-17, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 17-24, 2013

    October 17-24, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 24-31, 2013

    October 24-31, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, October 31 - November 7, 2013

    October 31 - November 7, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, November 7-14, 2013

    November 7-14, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, November 14-21, 2013

    November 14-21, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, November 21-28, 2013

    November 21-28, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, November 28 - December 5, 2013

    November 28 - December 5, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, December 5-12, 2013

    December 5-12, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, December 12-19, 2013

    December 12-19, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, December 19-26, 2013

    December 19-26, 2013

  • Sea surface salinity, December 26, 2013 - January 2, 2014

    December 26, 2013 - January 2, 2014

  • Credit

  • Credit

Slideshow: 2013 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 26, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 19, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 12, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 5, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 28, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 21, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 14, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 7, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 31, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 24, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 17, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 10, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 3, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 26, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 19, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 12, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 5, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 29, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 22, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 15, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 8, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 1, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 25, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 18, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 11, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 4, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 27, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 20, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 13, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 6, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 30, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 23, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 16, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 9, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 2, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 25, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 18, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 11, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 4, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 28, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 21, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 14, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 7, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 28, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 21, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 14, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 7, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 31, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 24, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 17, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 10, 2013
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 3, 2013
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.