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Ocean Salinity

Ocean salinity measurements are important because surface salinity and temperature control the density and stability of the surface water. Thus, ocean mixing (of heat and gases) and water-mass formation processes are intimately related to variations of surface salinity. Ocean modelling and analysis of water mass mixing should be enabled by new knowledge of surface-density fields derived from surface salinity measurements. The importance of the ocean in the global hydrological cycle also cannot be overstated. Some ocean models show that sufficient surface freshening results in slowing down the meridional overturning circulation, thereby affecting the oceanic transport of heat.
Detailed MeasurementDescription*InstrumentsTimeline
Ocean salinity
3D field of salinity of the ocean Requested in upper and deep ocean - Physical unit [ psu ], Practical Salinity Unit, close to 10 instruments
Sea Surface salinity
Salinity of seawater in the surface layer (upper ~ 1 m if observed in MW). In the open ocean the correct term should be “halinity” with reference of the diversity of salts involved - Measuring Units psu, Uncertainty Units psu2 instruments
* Description adapted from WMO.