Dr. Thomas Meissner, Senior Research Scientist, at Remote Sensing Soultions, Dr. Vardis Tsontos, lead data engineer supporting salinity and the Aquarius/SAC-D mission at PO.DAAC and Dr. Jorge Vazquez, Scientist for Sea Surface Temperature and Salinity at the PO.DAAC participated in a NASA Earthdata webinar on August 8, 2018, entitled “Don't Pass the Salt! NASA's Salinity Mission Continues with SMAP.”
This webinar provides an overview of the similarities and differences between salinity data collected by Aquarius and SMAP. It also includes demonstrations of PO.DAAC tools that can be used to visualize various salinity datasets.
NASA has measured the salinity – dissolved salt content in seawater – at the ocean surface since 2011. Salinity patterns reveal important information about changes in Earth's water cycle, ocean circulation, and climate. The broad spectrum of science and engineering topics associated with this seemingly "simple" spaceborne measurement has resulted in hundreds of peer-reviewed publications.
The pioneering Aquarius instrument on the SAC-D satellite was specifically designed to detect global ocean salinity, which is extremely challenging to measure accurately from space. NASA's salinity measurements have continued, thanks to the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission. SMAP collects data at the same frequency (L-band) used by Aquarius but employs different technology.