Aquarius Satellite Salinity Measurement Mission Status, and Science Results from the initial 3-Year Prime Mission

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 1:40 PM
Gary S E Lagerloef, Earth & Space Research, Seattle, WA, United States and Hsun-Ying Kao, Earth and Space Research, Seattle, WA, United States
The Aquarius satellite microwave sensor, launched June 2011, as part of the US-Argentina joint Aquarius/SAC-D mission, and commenced observations on 25 Aug2011, and completed three years of ocean surface salinity measurements in late August 2014. The Aquarius measurement objectives are to describe unknown features in the sea surface salinity (SSS) field, and document seasonal and interannual variations on regional and basin scales. This presentation will first describe the structure of the mean annual global salinity field compared with the previous in situ climatology and contemporary in situ measurements , including small persistent biases of opposite sign in high latitudes versus low latitudes, currently under intense investigation, as well as global and regional error statistics. Then we summarize highlights of various studies and papers submitted to the JGR-Oceans special section on satellite salinity (2014). The most prominent seasonal variations, most notably the extant and variability of the SSS signature of the Atlantic and Pacific inter-tropical convergence zones, Amazon-Orinoco and other major rivers, and other important regional patterns of seasonal variability. Lastly we will examine the trends observed during the three Sep-Aug measurement years beginning Sep2011, Sep2012 and Sep2013, respectively, in relation to ENSO and other climate indices, as the first step in analyzing interannual SSS variability. An outline for extended mission operations beyond the initial three-year prime mission will be presented.