Disclaimer: This material is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers. Visit the NASA Salinity website for more information.

2012 AGU Fall Meeting

December 3-7, 2012
San Francisco, California

Sixteen oral presentations were featured during two "Science Results from the Aquarius and SMOS Ocean Salinity Missions" sessions at the 2012 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. Held on Monday, December 3rd, presentations included: early results from the first 15 months of Aquarius data; inter-comparisons between Aquarius and the European Space Agency's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite; details on algorithms, calibration, and validation of both sensors; and information about complementary in-water programs such as Argo and Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS).

Documents (20)
Sort by: Author Title
Aquarius Reveals Salinity Structure of Tropical Instability Waves
Lee, T., Lagerloef, G. S. E., Gierach, M. M., Kao, H-Y, Yueh, S. H., and Dohan, K. B. (03-Dec-12). Sea surface salinity (SSS) measurements from the Aquarius/SAC-D during September-December 2011 provide the first satellite observations of the salinity structure of tropical instability waves in the Pacific. The related SSS anomaly has a magnitude of approximately ±0.5 PSU.

Aquarius Wind and SSS Retrieved Using the Combined Active-Passive Algorithm Under All Weather Conditions
Yueh, S.H., Tang, W., Fore, A., Freedman, A.P., Neumann, G., Hayashi, A., and Lagerloef, G.S.E. (03-Dec-12). The Aquarius/SACD satellite was launched on June 10, 2011, and the Aquarius instrument has been operational since August 25, 2012. Aquarius is a combined passive/active L-band microwave instrument developed to map the salinity field at the surface of the ocean from space. The primary science objective of the Aquarius mission is to monitor the seasonal and interannual variation of the large scale features of the sea surface salinity field in the open ocean with a spatial resolution of 150 km and a retrieval accuracy of 0.2 psu globally on a monthly basis.

Big Melt in Greenland During Summer 2012 Detected by MWR Aboard SAC-D/Aquarius (Poster)
Masuelli, S., Labanda, M.F., Marenchino, M., and Jacob, M.M. (04-Dec-12). The National Space Agency of Argentina (CONAE, ComisiĀ“on Nacional de Actividades Espaciales) developed the SAC-D/Aquarius science mission (launched in June 2011), together with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the USA (NASA). The main Argentinean sensor aboard the SAC-D is the MWR (Micro Wave Radiometer). This instrument is a three channel push-broom microwave radiometer with 8 antenna beams per channel and two different incident angles (52 and 58 degrees), that provides a measurement swath of approximately 380 km. These channels provide 36.5 GHz dual horizontal and vertical polarized and 23.8 GHz horizontal polarized radiance measurements in an overlapping swath with the L-band Aquarius radiometer/scatterometer. The main objective of this instrument is to retrieve sea geophysical variables such as columnar water vapor, wind speed, sea ice concentration and rain detection.

Derivation of an Experimental Satellite-Based T-S Diagram
Font, J., Sabia, R., Ballabrera, J., Lagerloef, G. S. E., Bayler, E.J., Talone, M., Chao, Y., Donlon, C.J., and Fernandez-Prieto, D. (03-Dec-12). A preliminary attempt of deriving a purely satellite-based Temperature-Salinity diagram is presented, with the overall aim of assessing to what extent is possible, and in which geographical areas, to identify and trace water masses by satellite.

ENSO Signature in the SMOS Sea Surface Salinity Maps
Ballabrera, J., Umbert, M., Hoareau, N., Turiel, A., and Font, J. (03-Dec-12). Until recently, the role of salinity observations in the operational simulation and prediction of ENSO was neglected because of the historical lack of observations and because leading intermediate coupled models had significant predictive skill without directly accounting for salinity effects.

First Results and Validation of Marine Surface Wind Speed Obtained from SAC-D/Aquarius MWR
Tauro, C.B., Hezain, Y., Etala, P., Echevarria, P., Jacob, M.M., and Jones, L. (04-Dec-12). CONAE, with the collaboration of CFRSL (Central Florida Remote Sensing Laboratory), are generating geophysical parameters, all over the sea surface, using brightness temperature measurements from MWR. These parameters include columnar water vapor, wind speed, sea ice concentration and rain rate, which are ancillary data for the Aquarius salinity measurements.

Highlights of the First 15 Months of Aquarius Salinity Measurements
Lagerloef, G.S.E., Kao, H-Y., Wentz, F.J., Le Vine, D.M., Yueh, S.H., and Feldman, G.C. (03-Dec-12). Aquarius satellite salinity measurements are resolving the major global and regional spatial patterns, and temporal variations, since the start of routine data collection on 25 August 2011. This description includes the principal seasonal variations over the first annual cycle as observed by the mission.

Impact of Satellite SSS on ENSO Forecasts for the Tropical Into-Pacific (Poster)
Hackert, E.C., and Busalacchi, A.J. (04-Dec-12). In earlier work we have demonstrated that assimilation of gridded fields of sea surface salinity (SSS), derived from in situ salinity observations, has led to significantly improved coupled forecasts for lead times greater than 6 months (Hackert et al., 2011). We found that the positive impact of SSS assimilation is brought about by surface freshening in the western Pacific that led to increased barrier layer thickness (BLT) and shallower mixed layer depth.

Improved Sea Surface Salinity Retrievals Using Ancillary Data for Aquarius Ocean Roughness Correction
Jones, L., Hejazin, Y., and Rabollii, M. (03-Dec-12). The Aquarius/SAC-D sea surface salinity (SSS) measurement mission was launched into polar orbit during the summer of 2011. The prime sensor is a combined L-band radiometer/scatterometer developed jointly by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which derives SSS from ocean surface brightness temperature measurements. This paper deals with a method of improving AQ SSS by making a making an ocean roughness brightness temperature correction.

Mixed Layer Impact of Hurricane Katia Passing Over the Amazon/Orinoco Plume as Viewed in Remotely Sensed Salinity Observations
Carton, J., Grodsky, S.A., Nicolas, R., Lagerloef, G.S.E., Reverdin, G.P., Chapron, B., Yves, Q., Kudryavtsev, V.N., and Kao, H-Y. (03-Dec-12). Hurricane strength increases dramatically with increasing sea surface temperature (SST) and decreases in response to entrainment of cooler sub-mixed layer water into the ocean mixed layer. At its seasonal peak the Amazon/Orinoco plume covers a region of one million square kilometers in the western tropical Atlantic with more than 1m of extra freshwater, creating a near-surface barrier layer that inhibits this mixing and warms to temperatures >29C.

MWR Retrieval Performance Improvement after Smear Effect Correction (Poster)
Labanda, M.F., Jacob, M.M., Farrar, S., Raimondo, H.A., and Jones, W.L. (04-Dec-12). We present in this paper a comparison between the results obtained before and after the correction with noticeable improvement in MWR products, i. e., more realistic geophysical retrieval products. The improvement is demonstrated by both global and regional studies over land and ocean.

Near-Surface Observations of Temperature and Salinity from Profiling Floats: The Diurnal Cycle, Precipitation, and Mixing
Anderson, J.E. and Riser, S. (03-Dec-12). Observations of near-surface temperature and salinity obtained from Argo-type profiling floats enhanced with an auxiliary Surface Temperature and Salinity (STS) CTD are presented. Using the STS unit, high vertical resolution (<10 cm) data in the near-surface layer were acquired nearly all the way to the sea surface.

NOAA In Situ - Satellite Blended Analysis of Surface Salinity (BASS): Prototype Algorithm and Applications
Xie, P., Boyer, T., Bayler, E. J., Xue, Y., Byrne, D.A., Reagan, J.R., Locarnini, R.A., and Kumar, A. (03-Dec-12). A prototype analysis of monthly sea surface salinity (SSS) has been constructed on a 1olat/lon grid over the global ocean by blending information from in situ measurements and satellite retrievals. Three data sets are included as inputs to the blended analysis, i.e., in situ SSS measurements aggregated and quality controlled by NOAA/NODC, and the passive microwave retrievals from the Aquarius/SAC-D and SMOS satellites, received and post-processed at NOAA/STAR.

SMOS and Aquarius Brightness Temperatures Inter Comparison
Cabot, F., Kerr, Y.H., Anterrieu, E., and Lagerloef, G.S.E. (03-Dec-12). In early November 2012, the SMOS mission will be celebrating 3 years in orbit. Since its launch, this mission has given many opportunities for breaking new grounds. Due to the very specific way in which it acquires brightness temperature measurements of the surface, advances were made in operating a two dimensional interferometric radiometer from space, and all the processing that is needed to reach satisfying accuracy requirements.

SMOS Salinity: A New View of the Ocean Surface
Boutin, J., Martin, N., Reverdin, G P., and Yin, X. (03-Dec-12). The ESA/SMOS (European Space Agency/Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) satellite mission provides measurements of the Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) using L-band interferometric radiometry since end of 2009. It is the first time that this technology is used for measuring SSS from space, providing global ocean coverage every 3 to 5 days and a spatial resolution of up to 40km. In this presentation, we first assess the accuracy of the SMOS SSS recently reprocessed by ESA (version 5), and then illustrate the additional information these new satellite products bring, with respect to in situ measurements, for ocean surface processes studies.

SPURS Overview: Salinity Processes Upper Ocean Regional Study First Results
Schmitt, R.W. (03-Dec-12). A multi-national study of the surface salinity maximum of the North Atlantic was initiated in 2012. We are seeking answers to basic questions about how the salinity maximum is maintained.

The Aquarius Level 2 Algorithm
Meissner, T., Wentz, F.J., Hilburn, K A., Lagerloef, G.S.E., and Le Vine, D.M. (03-Dec-12). The Aquarius L-band radiometer/scatterometer system is designed to provide monthly salinity maps at 150 km spatial scale to an accuracy of 0.2 psu. The sensor was launched on June 10, 2011, aboard the Argentine CONAE SAC-D spacecraft. The L-band radiometers and the scatterometer have been taking science data observations since August 25, 2011. This presentation discusses the current state of the Aquarius Level processing algorithm, which transforms radiometer counts ultimately into sea surface salinity.

The Ups and Downs of Measuring Sea Surface Salinity from Space
Banks, C.J., Gommenginger, C.P., Srokosz, M.A., and Snaith, H.M. (03-Dec-12). In November 2009, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite and a new era of satellite oceanography began vastly improving our ability to synoptically measure sea surface salinity (SSS). SMOS was joined in June 2011 by the NASA/Argentine Aquarius/SAC-D mission designed specifically to measure SSS.

Tropical Cyclone Interaction with the Amazon-Orinoco River Plume: New Insights from SMOS and Aquarius Missions
Nicolas, R., Yves, Q., Tenerelli, J., Grodsky, S.A., and Bertrand, C. (03-Dec-12). The fresh and neutrally buoyant water plume that forms in the Northwestern Tropical Atlantic from the discharge of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers is a salient oceangraphic feature at the surface of the main developement region of north Atlantic Tropical Cyclones. The plume region is characterized by warmer ocean heat content, deeper thermocline and sub-surface barrier layers associated with the strong surface halocline.

What is the Expected Impact of SMOS/Aquarius SSS in the Mercator Ocean System?
Tranchant, B., Greiner, E., Legalloudec, O., Lellouche, J-M., Ferry, N., and Guinehut, S. (03-Dec-12). In the framework of the European project GMES/Myocean, Mercator Ocean has designed a hierarchy of ocean analysis and forecasting operational systems delivering weekly and daily services in real time. The ocean and sea ice models are based on the NEMO/LIM codes.