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The Potential of Space-Based Sea Surface Salinity on Monitoring the Hudson Bay Freshwater Cycle

1
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
2
Environment and Climate Change Canada, National Hydrology Research Center, Victoria, BC V8P 5C2, Canada
3
Barcelona Expert Center, Institute de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, E-08003 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(5), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12050873
Received: 27 January 2020 / Revised: 5 March 2020 / Accepted: 5 March 2020 / Published: 9 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Remote Sensing)
Hudson Bay (HB) is the largest semi-inland sea in the Northern Hemisphere, connecting with the Arctic Ocean through the Foxe Basin and the northern Atlantic Ocean through the Hudson Strait. HB is covered by ice and snow in winter, which completely melts in summer. For about six months each year, satellite remote sensing of sea surface salinity (SSS) is possible over open water. SSS links freshwater contributions from river discharge, sea ice melt/freeze, and surface precipitation/evaporation. Given the strategic importance of HB, SSS has great potential in monitoring the HB freshwater cycle and studying its relationship with climate change. However, SSS retrieved in polar regions (poleward of 50°) from currently operational space-based L-band microwave instruments has large uncertainty (~ 1 psu) mainly due to sensitivity degradation in cold water (<5°C) and sea ice contamination. This study analyzes SSS from NASA Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) and European Space Agency (ESA) Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity(SMOS) missions in the context of HB freshwater contents. We found that the main source of the year-to-year SSS variability is sea ice melting, in particular, the onset time and places of ice melt in the first couple of months of open water season. The freshwater contribution from surface forcing P-E is smaller in magnitude comparing with sea ice contribution but lasts on longer time scale through the whole open water season. River discharge is comparable with P-E in magnitude but peaks before ice melt. The spatial and temporal variations of freshwater contents largely exceed the remote sensed SSS uncertainty. This fact justifies the use of remote sensed SSS for monitoring the HB freshwater cycle. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea surface salinity; Hudson Bay; freshwater contents; sea ice; river discharge sea surface salinity; Hudson Bay; freshwater contents; sea ice; river discharge
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tang, W.; Yueh, S.H.; Yang, D.; Mcleod, E.; Fore, A.; Hayashi, A.; Olmedo, E.; Martínez, J.; Gabarró, C. The Potential of Space-Based Sea Surface Salinity on Monitoring the Hudson Bay Freshwater Cycle. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 873.

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