Long-Term Composite Image: 25-Aug-11 to 07-Jul-12
The north-south striped patterns are artifacts of small residual calibration errors and thus are not real. Low salinity values immediately adjacent to land and ice-covered areas are due to proximity to coastlines or ice edges, which introduces errors into the data. The maps show several well-known ocean salinity features such as higher salinity in the subtropics; higher average salinity in the Atlantic Ocean compared to the Pacific and Indian oceans; and lower salinity in rainy belts near the equator, in the northernmost Pacific Ocean and elsewhere. These features are related to large-scale patterns of rainfall and evaporation over the ocean, river outflow and ocean circulation. Credit: Norman Kuring, NASA GSFC.