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Assessment of Aquarius Sea Surface Salinity

Earth & Space Research, 2101 Fourth Ave., Suite 1310, Seattle, WA 98121-2350, USA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Remote Sensing Systems, 444 Tenth Street, Suite 200, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(9), 1341;
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 18 August 2018 / Published: 22 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Surface Salinity Remote Sensing)
PDF [4992 KB, uploaded 22 August 2018]


Aquarius was the first NASA satellite to observe the sea surface salinity (SSS) over the global ocean. The mission successfully collected data from 25 August 2011 to 7 June 2015. The Aquarius project released its final version (Version-5) of the SSS data product in December 2017. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the validation results from the Aquarius Validation Data System (AVDS) and other statistical methods, and to provide a general view of the Aquarius SSS quality to the users. The results demonstrate that Aquarius has met the mission target measurement accuracy requirement of 0.2 psu on monthly averages on 150 km scale. From the triple point analysis using Aquarius, in situ field and Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) products, the root mean square errors of Aquarius Level-2 and Level-3 data are estimated to be 0.17 psu and 0.13 psu, respectively. It is important that caution should be exercised when using Aquarius salinity data in areas with high radio frequency interference (RFI) and heavy rainfall, close to the coast lines where leakage of land signals may significantly affect the quality of the SSS data, and at high-latitude oceans where the L-band radiometer has poor sensitivity to SSS. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aquarius satellite; sea surface salinity; Aquarius Validation Data System (AVDS) Aquarius satellite; sea surface salinity; Aquarius Validation Data System (AVDS)

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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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Kao, H.-Y.; Lagerloef, G.S.E.; Lee, T.; Melnichenko, O.; Meissner, T.; Hacker, P. Assessment of Aquarius Sea Surface Salinity. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1341.

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