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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1716;

SMAP and CalCOFI Observe Freshening during the 2014–2016 Northeast Pacific Warm Anomaly

Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Physical Oceanography Department, Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada, 22860 Ensenada, Mexico
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 23 October 2018 / Accepted: 26 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Surface Salinity Remote Sensing)
PDF [4075 KB, uploaded 2 November 2018]


Data from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive Mission (SMAP) and from the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) were used to examine the freshening that occurred during 2015–2016 in the Southern California Current System. Overall, the freshening was found to be related to the 2014–2016 Northeast Pacific Warm Anomaly. The primary goal was to determine the feasibility of using SMAP data to observe the surface salinity signal associated with the warming and its coastal impact. As a first step, direct comparisons were done with salinity from the CalCOFI data at one-meter depth. During 2015, SMAP was saltier than CalCOFI by 0.5 Practical Salinity Units (PSU), but biases were reduced to <0.1 PSU during 2016. South of 33°N, and nearer to the coast where upwelling dominates, SMAP was fresher in 2015 by almost 0.2 PSU. CalCOFI showed freshening of 0.1 PSU. North of 33°N, SMAP and CalCOFI saw significant freshening in 2016, SMAP by 0.4 PSU and CalCOFI by 0.2 PSU. Differences between SMAP and CalCOFI are consistent with the increased stratification in 2015 and changes in the mixed layer depth. SMAP observed freshening that reached the Baja California Coast. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastal; salinity; upwelling coastal; salinity; upwelling

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Vazquez-Cuervo, J.; Gomez-Valdes, J. SMAP and CalCOFI Observe Freshening during the 2014–2016 Northeast Pacific Warm Anomaly. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1716.

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