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Senliang Bao, Ren Zhang, Huizan Wang, Hengqian Yan, Yang Yu, and Jian Chen

1. Introduction Salinity plays a significant role in the ocean circulation and the Earth global hydrological cycle. Salinity, along with ocean temperature, is required to compute ocean density and provides key information about water mass formation, mixed layer depth, barrier layer depth, and geostrophic circulation ( de Boyer Montégut et al. 2007 ; Helber et al. 2010 ; Qin et al. 2015 ; Rao and Sivakumar 2003 ; Wang and Zhang 2012 ). Further, sea surface salinity is a key variable

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Lisan Yu

1. Introduction Two salinity remote sensing satellite missions are expected to be launched in 2009–10. One mission is the Aquarius/Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas-D (SAC-D) science mission, developed jointly by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE), the Argentine space agency ( Lagerloef et al. 1995 , 2008 ; Koblinsky et al. 2003 ; Le Vine et al. 2007 ). The other mission is the Soil Moisture and Ocean

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Paul J. Durack and Susan E. Wijffels

97% of the global water inventory, with 80% of the surface water flux occurring over the oceans ( Schmitt 1995 ). The global ocean’s salinity field reflects the large-scale long-term balance between the surface freshwater flux [evaporation minus precipitation (EP) and terrestrial runoff minus the total surface freshwater flux ( F W )] and the ocean’s advective and mixing processes. Any change in the hydrological cycle, therefore, will be reflected in the ocean salinity field. Large and coherent

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Nadya T. Vinogradova and Rui M. Ponte

1. Introduction An important component of the calibration and validation effort of any satellite mission is the comparison between remotely sensed and in situ measurements. For the recently launched Aquarius/Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas-D ( SAC-D ; Lagerloef et al. 2008 ; Lagerloef 2012 ) and Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity ( SMOS ; Font et al. 2010 ) satellite missions dedicated to measuring sea surface salinity (SSS), comparison between retrieved and in situ observations is

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Julian Simeonov and Melvin E. Stern

consider vertical gradients of temperature T z < 0 and salinity S z < 0, such that no small-scale double-diffusive convection is initially present (cf. Simeonov and Stern 2007 ); such conditions exist in the Arctic Ocean above the Atlantic water. In the presence of horizontal gradients, this basic state is unstable to lateral intrusions driven by the molecular diffusivities ( Holyer 1983 ). The amplifying intrusion shear will rotate the undisturbed isotherms (isohalines), thereby generating an

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Elizabeth Mannshardt, Katarina Sucic, Montserrat Fuentes, and Frederick M. Bingham

1. Introduction In 2011, NASA launched a satellite mission to measure sea surface salinity (SSS) and to provide the global view of salinity variability needed for climate studies. The goal of the Aquarius mission is to understand “the interaction between ocean circulation, the water cycle, and climate by measuring salinity” ( NASA 2012 ). Salinity affects the interaction between ocean circulation and the global water cycle, which in turn affects the regulation of the earth’s climate through

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M. Talone, C. Gabarró, A. Camps, R. Sabia, J. Gourrion, M. Vall-llossera, and J. Font

1. Introduction a. The SMOS mission In May 1999 the European Space Agency (ESA) approved the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) Mission as the second of its Living Planet Programme Earth Explorer Opportunity Missions to provide global and frequent soil moisture and sea surface salinity (SSS) maps. SMOS was launched on 2 November 2009, and after the first calibration and checkout period (the so-called “commissioning phase”), SSS level 3 products will be distributed; the expected accuracy is

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Prasad G. Thoppil and Patrick J. Hogan

formation of the saltier and denser Persian Gulf water (PGW) mass. The densest water forms during winter in the northern end of the gulf, where it has a salinity of about 41 psu and temperature maxima higher than 21°C ( Swift and Bower 2003 ). The resulting water deficit in the gulf is compensated for by an inflow of relatively warmer and less saline water of Arabian Sea origin (36.5–37 psu) through the Strait of Hormuz. The low-salinity inflow occurs along the northern side of the strait and spreads

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Marlos Goes, Jonathan Christophersen, Shenfu Dong, Gustavo Goni, and Molly O. Baringer

1. Introduction Salinity is a key variable for determining density and steric height in the ocean; consequently, it affects the strength of ocean currents, the depth of the mixed layer, and the transport of mass, heat, salt, and nutrients across the globe. Ocean data assimilation relies on salinity observations and/or estimates for prediction of climate and weather patterns over marine and land areas. Without assimilation of salinity data, strong drift can occur in assimilation models as a

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Florian Sévellec, Thierry Huck, Mahdi Ben Jelloul, and Jérôme Vialard

1. Introduction A strong modification of surface air temperature in the North Atlantic during the past century has been established ( Mann et al. 1999 )—in the context of global warming. This temperature modification is concomitant with a modification of sea surface salinity (SSS) in the same region noted since the mid-1970s and is related to an increase of precipitation in the North Atlantic subpolar gyre ( Josey and Marsh 2005 ). A similar salinity modification has also been measured in the

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