> Oceanography > Issues > Archive > Volume 21, Number 1

2008, Oceanography 21(1):68–81, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2008.68

The Aquarius/SAC-D Mission:
Designed to Meet the Salinity Remote-Sensing Challenge

Authors | First Paragraph | Full Article | Citation


Gary Lagerloef | NASA Aquarius Mission, Earth & Space Research, Seattle, WA, USA

F. Raul Colomb | SAC-D, Argentine Space Agency, Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE), Buenos Aires, Argentina

David Le Vine | NASA Aquarius Mission, Instrument Sciences Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA

Frank Wentz | Remote Sensing Systems, Santa Rosa, CA, USA

Simon Yueh | Climate, Oceans, and Solid Earth, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA

Christopher Ruf | Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, and Space Physics Research Laboratory, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Jonathan Lilly | Earth & Space Research, Seattle, WA, USA

John Gunn | Earth & Space Research, Seattle, WA, USA

Yi Chao | Aquarius Project, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA

Annette deCharon | Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, West Boothbay Harbor, ME, USA

Gene Feldman | SeaWiFS, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA

Calvin Swift | Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA


First Paragraph

In an Oceanography article published 13 years ago, three of us identified salinity measurement from satellites as the next ocean remote-sensing challenge. We argued that this represented the next "zeroth order" contribution to oceanography (Lagerloef et al., 1995) because salinity variations form part of the interaction between ocean circulation and the global water cycle, which in turn affects the ocean's capacity to store and transport heat and regulate Earth's climate. Now, we are pleased to report that a new satellite program scheduled for launch in the near future will provide data to reveal how the ocean responds to the combined effects of evaporation, precipitation, ice melt, and river runoff on seasonal and interannual time scales. These measurements can be used, for example, to close the marine hydrologic budget, constrain coupled climate models, monitor mode water formation, investigate the upper-ocean response to precipitation variability in the tropical convergence zones, and provide early detection of low-salinity intrusions in the subpolar Atlantic and Southern oceans. Sea-surface salinity (SSS) and sea-surface temperature (SST) determine sea-surface density, which controls the formation of water masses and regulates three-dimensional ocean circulation.


Full Article

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Lagerloef, G., F.R. Colomb, D. Le Vine, F. Wentz, S. Yueh, C. Ruf, J. Lilly, J. Gunn, Y. Chao, A. deCharon, G. Feldman, and C. Swift. 2008. The Aquarius/SAC-D Mission: Designed to meet the salinity remote-sensing challenge. Oceanography 21(1):68–81, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2008.68.