National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2011

A gridded data set of sea surface salinity for the tropical Pacific with sample applications (1950–2008)

Delcroix, T., G. Alory, S. Cravatte, T. Corrége, and M. McPhaden

Deep-Sea Res. I, 58, 38–48, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2010.11.002 (2011)

We present a gridded data set of Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) for the tropical Pacific (120°E–70°W; 30°N–30°S), with a grid resolution of 1° longitude, 1° latitude and 1 month, from 1950 to 2008. The product, together with its associated error field, is derived from an objective analysis of about 10 million validated SSS records, with most of the data originating from Voluntary Observing Ships, TAO/TRITON moorings and Argo profilers (during the most recent period). We expect this product to benefit studies in oceanography, meteorology and paleoceanography. As examples of applications, we analyse: (a) the seasonal and ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) modes of observed SSS variability, (b) the ability of 23 coupled models used in the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change 4th Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) to simulate the mean SSS and these two time varying modes, and (c) the usefulness of the SSS product and of its associated error field in calibrating and validating the paleo-salinity time series. We anticipate improvements and regular updates to our product, as more SSS data become available from in situ networks and from the ongoing and near-future satellite-derived observations by SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) and Aquarius.

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