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NASA Earth Observations: Sea Surface Salinity
Source: NASA Earth Observations
[31-Aug-2022] On the NASA Earth Observations (NEO) website, you can browse and download color-coded global imagery of satellite data from NASA's constellation of Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites, including ocean-focused datasets such as the highlighted Sea Surface Salinity maps from the Aquarius satellite which collected data from 2011-2015. Users can choose a 7-day or a 1-month average to view data.

  • What do the colors of the salinity maps represent? Areas of low salinity are shown in dark purple and areas of high salinity are shown in a light yellow color in units of practical salinity units (psu). The Practical Salinity Scale (of which psu is a component) is used to describe the concentration of dissolved salts in water and defines salinity in terms of a conductivity ratio, so it is dimensionless. Black areas show where data were not available.
  • Want to compare sea surface salinity with other ocean data sets? For NEO global maps, click on the top menu bar ("Ocean") to access sea surface temperature (from a range of satellites), sea surface temperature anomalies, sea ice concentration and extent, bathymetry, chlorophyll.
  • Want to learn more? The Aquarius mission (which collected this highlighted salinity data set) ended on June 8, 2015 when an essential part of the power and attitude control system for the SAC-D spacecraft, which carries the Aquarius instrument, stopped operating. Happily, other salinity data was (and is still being) collected and made available to the public. Check out the latest at NASA Salinity: Home.

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