Presented at the 2014 AGU Fall MeetingIn a preliminary step toward assimilation of Aquarius data, observed sea surface salinity is compared with modeled sea surface salinity. Spatially and temporally, the statistics of model-data differences are compared to the variability of the model's E-P forcing field. Model-data differences are a product of noise in the satellite data, inaccuracies in model physics, and errors in surface forcing fields. Since precipitation is known to have high uncertainty, analysis of the influence of the E-P field on the model-data misfit will provide insight into that field's strengths and weaknesses. Comparing the Aquarius measurements to results from the 1/12.5-degree Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HyCOM) output provides further information on the representation of temporally short and spatially small features, and longer time-scale averages of seasonal and annual cycles. A better understanding of the connections between these features and the modeled counterparts provides a framework for including these data into a complete HyCOM-based reanalysis.