THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
GLOBAL CLIMATE OBSERVING SYSTEM
ESSENTIAL CLIMATE VARIABLE - Sea-surface salinity (SSS)
DomainOceanicDescriptionSalinity is the fraction of water that is comprised of salt and other impurities. Observations of sea surface salinity (SSS) are needed to calculate estimates of oceanic transports of freshwater and other properties on basin to global scales. SSS also provides a good pointer to changes in the water cycle as it is indicates the change in fresh water due to the difference between precipitation and evaporation. Along with coincident SST observations, they allow surface water density to be estimated. [GCOS-195 5.3.2]
Sub-domainSurface
Full NameSea-surface salinity (SSS)
Satellite Signficant ContributionYes
GCOS Actions
Action
Status*
DescriptionWhoTime FramePerformance IndicatorCost Implications
O12
Cat-B
Research programmes should investigate the feasibility of utilizing satellite data to help resolve global fields of SSS.Space agencies, in collaboration with the ocean research community.Feasibility studies complete by 2014.Reports in literature and to OOPC.1-10M US$ (Mainly by Annex-I Parties).
*GCOS-195 Status Categories: Category A: Action completed, perhaps exceeding reasonable expectations. Very good progress on ongoing tasks. Category B: Action largely completed according to expectation. Good progress on ongoing tasks. Category C: Moderate progress overall, although progress may be good for some part of the action. Category D: Limited progress overall, although progress may be moderate or good for some part of the action. Category E: Very little or no progress, or deterioration rather than progress.
GCOS Products
ProductNameVariable/
Parameter
Related Measurements/
Instruments
from CEOS DB
O.2Datasets for research on identification of changes in sea-surface salinitySeasurface salinity
Ocean salinity
CEOS Response[O12 (O.2)]

2015 Update: Sea surface salinity missions now in orbit include the ESA Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) launched in 2009 and the NASA Aquarius launched in 2011. ESA and NASA have funded research programs using these data and producing global fields of sea surface salinity merging all available observations. The results of these programs were summarized in an ocean salinity meeting in November 2014 (http://www.oceansalinityscience2014.org/)

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