Salt is essential. Circulating through our bodies and our seas, it impacts the health of people and the planet. Salt dissolved in seawater – measured as salinity – drives currents that distribute heat and carbon around the globe. So, salt not only preserves our food, it helps to preserve our climate by contributing to global ocean circulation.

Earth is an ocean planet. Key water cycle processes – precipitation and evaporation – mostly occur over the ocean. Thus, monitoring sea surface salinity patterns provides important clues about changes in our environment.

NASA observes salinity. Merging data from satellites and other instruments, our mission is to better understand ocean circulation, the water cycle, and climate.

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Science »

Check out our interactive stories centered on ocean salinity and its importance to our lives.
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Beaufort Bound!
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Rain over the ocean

Latest News »

At the Edge: Between Melting Summer Sea Ice and Autumn Sea Ice Formation (17-Aug-22).
Adaptive Sampling of Rain and Ocean Salinity from Autonomous Seagliders (Guam 2019-2020) Dataset Release (24-Mar-22).
Multi-Mission Optimally Interpolated Sea Surface Salinity (OISSS) Monthly Level 4 V1.0 Dataset Release (22-Feb-22).
Recent Publications »
Ashafahani, A.A., Wirasatriya, A., Pranowo, W.S., Sugianto, D.N., and Maslukah, L. (in press). The Dynamic of Convergence Zone Displacement in Western Pacific Ocean on 2015 Super El Niño Event
Essink, S., Hormann, V., Centurioni, L., and Mahadevan, A. (2022). On Characterizing Ocean Kinematics from Surface Drifters
Qi, J., Du, Y., Chi, J., Yi, D., Li, D., and Yin, B. (2022). Impacts of El Niño on the South China Sea Surface Salinity as seen from Satellites
Katsura, S., Sprintall, J., Farrar, J., Zhang, D. and Cronin, M. (2022). The Barrier Layer Effect on the Heat and Freshwater Balance from Moored Observations in the Eastern Pacific Fresh Pool
Zhu, J., Zhang, Y., Cheng, X., Wang, X., Sun, Q., and Du, Y. (2022). Effect of Mesoscale Eddies on the Transport of Low-salinity Water from the Bay of Bengal into the Arabian Sea during Winter

Meetings »

June 6-9, 2022
With over 100 participants, the Ocean Salinity Conference 2022 fostered scientific exchanges and collaborations in the broad community involved in ocean salinity science, applications, technology development, product services, and community building. The group reviewed recent progress, identified knowledge and capability gaps, and charted the way forward to sustain and enhance the ocean salinity observing system as well as to maximize the value of the resulting measurements. Archived Presentations »