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Science Webinars: Our Salty Seas

First light image
NASA scientists Yi Chao, Gary Lagerloef and David Le Vine came together for this two part series to discuss the complexities of getting accurate salinity measurements from space. The presentations include recent data collected by the instrument.

How Do We Cover the Globe With Aquarius Data? (Part 1)
On January 17, 2012, Dr. Gary Lagerloef, Aquarius Principal Investigator, and Dr. David Le Vine, Aquarius Deputy Principal Investigator, presented a webinar on what it takes to design, develop and test the Aquarius satellite's capabilities before and after launch, and how this leads to gathering accurate global data.

How Was the Technology for Aquarius Developed and How Does It Work? Aquarius Deputy PI David Le Vine describes how the technology for Aquarius was developed (Session 1) (view concept map)

How Do We Cover the Globe With Aquarius Data? Aquarius PI Gary Lagerloef describes the process by which the Aquarius instrument was able to get a global picture of salinity measurements (Session 2) (view concept map)

Gary and David answer questions from webinar participants including what is brightness temperature, why are salt levels in the oceans and lakes so different, how long did it take to build Aquarius, and more.

Gary and David expand upon their presentation in this Q&A session covering how fast Aquarius traveled; how data were downloaded from the satellite (and how often); correlating satellite data with earth phenomena (volcanoes); accounting for cloud cover; and more.

View images, videos, and resources presented during the webinar in the COSEE-OS Ocean Climate Interactive.

What is Aquarius Data Telling Us? (Part 2)
The Aquarius/SAC-D satellite began collecting global salinity data in late August 2011. What type of phenomena have been observed with the data? In this webinar presented on January 24, 2012 - seven months after launch - NASA scientists Dr. Gary Lagerloef and Dr. Yi Chao discuss Aquarius's findings, focusing on interesting regions of salinity change and what the data are already teaching us about the global ocean.

What is Aquarius Data Telling Us? Aquarius PI Gary Lagerloef and Project Scientist Yi Chao highlight several months of data received from the Aquarius instrument (view concept map)

Q&A Transcript (PDF, 3 MB)
Gary and Yi answer webinar participant's questions about Aquarius data, including how tropical storm seasons affect salinity; why the continents appear ringed in black; if Aquarius measurements will be used to determine other ocean parameters such as sea surface height and temperature; do oil spills affect satellite data; and what data have surprised them the most.

View images, videos, and resources presented during the webinar in the COSEE-OS Ocean Climate Interactive.

About the Presenters
Gary Lagerloef

Dr. Gary Lagerloef completed a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography at the University of Washington in 1984. From 1988-1990, he served as the NASA Physical Oceanography Program Manager in the ocean science remote sensing program. In 1995, he co-founded Earth and Space Research, a non-profit scientific research institute in Seattle where he has developed several research projects devoted to studies of the upper ocean dynamics and climate variability using satellites. Dr. Lagerloef was appointed by NASA to lead the Aquarius/SAC-D satellite mission in December 2003.

Yi Chao

Dr. Yi Chao received his Ph.D. from Princeton University (Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Program, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory). His research interests include satellite oceanography with a particular focus on coastal oceans; ocean modeling, data assimilation and forecasting. interdisciplinary science of coupling ocean circulation with ecosystem and air-sea interactions; and climate variability and change.

David Le Vine

Dr. David Le Vine Dr. Le Vine received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was a Research Engineer at the University of Michigan Radiation Laboratory, after which he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park. In 1973, he joined NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. His current research has focused on the development of techniques for microwave remote sensing of the environment from space.