Aquarius Maps: Sea Surface Salinity at High Latitudes

  • Sea surface salinity, January 2-9, 2014

    January 2-9, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, January 9-16, 2014

    January 9-16, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, January 16-23, 2014

    January 16-23, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, January 23-30, 2014

    January 23-30, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, January 30 - February 6, 2014

    January 30 - February 6, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, February 6-13, 2014

    February 6-13, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, February 13-20, 2014

    February 13-20, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, February 20-27, 2014

    February 20-27, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, February 27 - March 6, 2014

    February 27 - March 6, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, March 6-13, 2014

    March 6-13, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, March 13-20, 2014

    March 13-20, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, March 20-27, 2014

    March 20-27, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, March 27 - April 3, 2014

    March 27 - April 3, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, April 3-10, 2014

    April 3-10, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, April 10-17, 2014

    April 10-17, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, April 17-24, 2014

    April 17-24, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, April 24 - May 1, 2014

    April 24 - May 1, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 1-8, 2014

    May 1-8, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 8-15, 2014

    May 8-15, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 15-22, 2014

    May 15-22, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 22-29, 2014

    May 22-29, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 29 - June 5, 2014

    May 29 - June 5, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, June 5-12, 2014

    June 5-12, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, June 12-19, 2014

    June 12-19, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, June 19-26, 2014

    June 19-26, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, June 26 - July 3, 2014

    June 26 - July 3, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 3-10, 2014

    July 3-10, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 10-17, 2014

    July 10-17, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 17-24, 2014

    July 17-24, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 24-31, 2014

    July 24-31, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 31 - August 7, 2014

    July 31 - August 7, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, August 7-14, 2014

    August 7-14, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, August 14-21, 2014

    August 14-21, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, August 21-28, 2014

    August 21-28, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, August 28 - September 4, 2014

    August 28 - September 4, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, September 4-11, 2014

    September 4-11, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, September 11-18, 2014

    September 11-18, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, September 18-25, 2014

    September 18-25, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, September 25 - October 2, 2014

    September 25 - October 2, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 2-9, 2014

    October 2-9, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 9-16, 2014

    October 9-16, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 16-23, 2014

    October 16-23, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 23-30, 2014

    October 23-30, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 30 - November 6, 2014

    October 30 - November 6, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, November 6-13, 2014

    November 6-13, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, November 13-20, 2014

    November 13-20, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, November 20-27, 2014

    November 20-27, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, November 27 - December 4, 2014

    November 27 - December 4, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, December 4-11, 2014

    December 4-11, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, December 11-18, 2014

    December 11-18, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, December 18-25, 2014

    December 18-25, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, December 25, 2014 - January 1, 2015

    December 25, 2014 - January 1, 2015

  • Credit

  • Credit

Slideshow: 2014 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 25, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 18, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 11, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
December 4, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 27, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 20, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 13, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
November 6, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 30, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 23, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 16, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 9, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
October 2, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 25, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 18, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 11, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
September 4, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 28, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 21, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 14, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
August 7, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 31, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 24, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 17, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 10, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
July 3, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 26, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 19, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 12, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
June 5, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 29, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 22, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 15, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 8, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
May 1, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 24, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 17, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 10, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
April 3, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 27, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 20, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 13, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
March 6, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 27, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 20, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 13, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
February 6, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 30, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 23, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 16, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 9, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the northern hemisphere
January 2, 2014

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

  • Sea surface salinity, January 2-9, 2014

    January 2-9, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, January 9-16, 2014

    January 9-16, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, January 16-23, 2014

    January 16-23, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, January 23-30, 2014

    January 23-30, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, January 30 - February 6, 2014

    January 30 - February 6, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, February 6-13, 2014

    February 6-13, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, February 13-20, 2014

    February 13-20, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, February 20-27, 2014

    February 20-27, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, February 27 - March 6, 2014

    February 27 - March 6, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, March 6-13, 2014

    March 6-13, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, March 13-20, 2014

    March 13-20, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, March 20-27, 2014

    March 20-27, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, March 27 - April 3, 2014

    March 27 - April 3, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, April 3-10, 2014

    April 3-10, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, April 10-17, 2014

    April 10-17, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, April 17-24, 2014

    April 17-24, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, April 24 - May 1, 2014

    April 24 - May 1, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 1-8, 2014

    May 1-8, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 8-15, 2014

    May 8-15, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 15-22, 2014

    May 15-22, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 22-29, 2014

    May 22-29, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, May 29 - June 5, 2014

    May 29 - June 5, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, June 5-12, 2014

    June 5-12, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, June 12-19, 2014

    June 12-19, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, June 19-26, 2014

    June 19-26, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, June 26 - July 3, 2014

    June 26 - July 3, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 3-10, 2014

    July 3-10, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 10-17, 2014

    July 10-17, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 17-24, 2014

    July 17-24, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 24-31, 2014

    July 24-31, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, July 31 - August 7, 2014

    July 31 - August 7, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, August 7-14, 2014

    August 7-14, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, August 14-21, 2014

    August 14-21, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, August 21-28, 2014

    August 21-28, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, August 28 - September 4, 2014

    August 28 - September 4, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, September 4-11, 2014

    September 4-11, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, September 11-18, 2014

    September 11-18, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, September 18-25, 2014

    September 18-25, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, September 25 - October 2, 2014

    September 25 - October 2, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 2-9, 2014

    October 2-9, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 9-16, 2014

    October 9-16, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 16-23, 2014

    October 16-23, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 23-30, 2014

    October 23-30, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, October 30 - November 6, 2014

    October 30 - November 6, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, November 6-13, 2014

    November 6-13, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, November 13-20, 2014

    November 13-20, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, November 20-27, 2014

    November 20-27, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, November 27 - December 4, 2014

    November 27 - December 4, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, December 4-11, 2014

    December 4-11, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, December 11-18, 2014

    December 11-18, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, December 18-25, 2014

    December 18-25, 2014

  • Sea surface salinity, December 25, 2014 - January 1, 2015

    December 25, 2014 - January 1, 2015

  • Credit

  • Credit

Slideshow: 2014 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 25, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 18, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 11, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
December 4, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 27, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 20, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 13, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
November 6, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 30, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 23, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 16, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 9, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
October 2, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 25, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 18, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 11, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
September 4, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 28, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 21, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 14, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
August 7, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 31, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 24, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 17, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 10, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
July 3, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 26, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 19, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 12, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
June 5, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 29, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 22, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 15, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 8, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
May 1, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 24, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 17, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 10, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
April 3, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 27, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 20, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 13, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
March 6, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 27, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 20, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 13, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
February 6, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 30, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 23, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 16, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 9, 2014
Sea surface salinity in the southern hemisphere
January 2, 2014
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.