Data: Tutorials

The videos and resources below offer guidance for accessing and visualizing salinity data from the Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC). Datasets for SMAP and Aquarius are available for download on the PO.DAAC website.

Webinar: Don't Pass the Salt: NASA's Salinity Mission Continues with SMAP

The pioneering Aquarius instrument on the SAC-D satellite was specifically designed to detect global ocean salinity, which is extremely challenging to measure accurately from space. NASA's salinity measurements have continued, thanks to the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission. SMAP collects data at the same frequency (L-band) used by Aquarius but employs different technology.

This webinar provides an overview of the similarities and differences between salinity data collected by Aquarius and SMAP. It also includes demonstrations of Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC) tools that can be used to visualize various salinity datasets. You can view the full webinar on YouTube or click on one of the individual presentations below.

Learn the Basics of NASA Salinity - Dr. Thomas Meissner (26:33) [PDF Presentation]
Discover & Access PO.DAAC Salinity Data - Vardis Tsontos (15:59) [PDF Presentation]
Salinity Science Results from the Gulf of Mexico - Dr. Jorge Vazquez (17:11) [PDF Presentation]

Tutorial Videos

The following videos demonstrate the process of finding, accessing, and downloading salinity data from PO.DAAC and plotting the data in a visualization tool (Panoply). The tutorials also cover exporting images, animations and files that can be uploaded to Google Earth.

Note: There have been some changes to the datasets since these videos were created (e.g., the inclusion of data from SMAP and the release of additional Aquarius datasets). The pathway and process outlined below for accessing the files to visualize the data are the same – but please note that the referenced website(s) may differ slightly in appearance from the recording. Tutorials were developed by Dr. Leslie Smith (Your Ocean Consulting).

Introducing the PO.DAAC (00:03:05) [PDF Instructions]
How to Access Aquarius Datasets Through the PO.DAAC (00:02:18) [PDF Instructions]
Downloading a NetCDF File from the PO.DAAC THREDDS Server (00:01:58) [PDF Instructions]
Downloading Files from the PO.DAAC OPeNDAP Server (00:05:31) [PDF Instructions]
Panoply Orientation (00:02:57) [PDF Instructions]
Visualizing Data Using Panoply: Longitude-Latitude Plots (00:03:04) [PDF Instructions]
Visualizing Data Using Panoply: Line Plots (00:03:09) [PDF Instructions]
Visualizing Data Using Panoply: Hovmöller Plots (00:02:04) [PDF Instructions]
Comparing Data Using Combination Plots in Panoply (00:03:20) [PDF Instructions]
Using Panoply to Create Images, Animations & Google Earth-ready Files (00:02:12) [PDF Instructions]
How to Make a Movie of Your Plot in Google Earth & Google Earth Pro (00:02:38) [PDF Instructions]

PO.DAAC Forum Tutorials

The PO.DAAC Forum includes a collection of additional documentation and tutorials for users who have questions about datasets in the PO.DAAC archive. The clips below provide an overview of additional tools (including the NASA Live Access Server) for visualizing salinity data.

Web-based Aquarius Data Visualization, Live Access Server (21 minutes)
Watch | More Information
Accessing Aquarius Data at PO.DAAC (22 minutes)
Watch | More Information
Discovering Aquarius Data at PO.DAAC (19 minutes)
Watch | More Information