Salinity is a critical parameter in the Arctic Ocean, having potential implications for climate and weather. This study presents the first systematic analysis of 6 commonly used sea surface salinity (SSS) products from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Aquarius and Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellites and the European Space Agency (ESA) Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission, in terms of their consistency among one another and with in-situ data. Overall, the satellite SSS products provide a similar characterization of the time mean SSS large-scale patterns and are relatively consistent in depicting the regions with strong SSS temporal variability. When averaged over the Arctic Ocean, the SSS show an excellent consistency in describing the seasonal and interannual variations. Comparison of satellite SSS with in-situ salinity measurements along ship transects suggest that satellite SSS captures salinity gradients away from regions with significant sea-ice concentration. The root-mean square differences (RMSD) of satellite SSS with respect to in-situ measurements improves with increasing temperature, reflecting the limitation of L-band radiometric sensitivity to SSS in cold water. However, the satellite SSS biases with respect to the in-situ measurements do not show a consistent dependence on temperature. The results have significant implications for the calibration and validation of satellite SSS as well as for the modeling community and the design of future satellite missions.
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