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Article

Observations of Mesoscale Eddies in Satellite SSS and Inferred Eddy Salt Transport

1
International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
2
Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(2), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13020315
Received: 17 December 2020 / Revised: 15 January 2021 / Accepted: 15 January 2021 / Published: 18 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Moving Forward on Remote Sensing of Sea Surface Salinity)
Observations of sea surface salinity (SSS) from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active-Passive (SMAP) and ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite missions are used to characterize and quantify the contribution of mesoscale eddies to the ocean transport of salt. Given large errors in satellite retrievals and, consequently, SSS maps, we evaluate two products from the two missions and also use two different methods to assess the eddy transport of salt. Comparing the two missions, we find that the estimates of the eddy transport of salt agree very well, particularly in the tropics and subtropics. The transport is divergent in the subtropical gyres (eddies pump salt out of the gyres) and convergent in the tropics. The estimates from the two satellites start to differ regionally at higher latitudes, particularly in the Southern Ocean and along the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), resulting, presumably, from a considerable increase in the level of noise in satellite retrievals (because of poor sensitivity of the satellite radiometer to SSS in cold water), or they can be due to insufficient spatial resolution. Overall, our study demonstrates that the possibility of characterizing and quantifying the eddy transport of salt in the ocean surface mixed layer can rely on the use of satellite observations of SSS. Yet, new technologies are required to improve the resolution capabilities of future satellite missions in order to observe mesoscale and sub-mesoscale variability, improve the signal-to-noise ratio, and extend these capabilities to the polar oceans. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea surface salinity; SMOS; SMAP; eddy salt transport sea surface salinity; SMOS; SMAP; eddy salt transport
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MDPI and ACS Style

Melnichenko, O.; Hacker, P.; Müller, V. Observations of Mesoscale Eddies in Satellite SSS and Inferred Eddy Salt Transport. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 315. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13020315

AMA Style

Melnichenko O, Hacker P, Müller V. Observations of Mesoscale Eddies in Satellite SSS and Inferred Eddy Salt Transport. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(2):315. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13020315

Chicago/Turabian Style

Melnichenko, Oleg, Peter Hacker, and Vasco Müller. 2021. "Observations of Mesoscale Eddies in Satellite SSS and Inferred Eddy Salt Transport" Remote Sensing 13, no. 2: 315. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13020315

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