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Chao Liu, Xinfeng Liang, Don P. Chambers, and Rui M. Ponte

1. Introduction Salinity is one of the fundamental ocean variables that are routinely measured, and variations in salinity have been used extensively in climate studies. First, ocean salinity is strongly impacted by air–sea freshwater exchange, land freshwater discharges, sea ice formation and melting, and ocean dynamics ( Rao and Sivakumar 2003 ; Foltz et al. 2004 ; Dong et al. 2014 ; Haumann et al. 2016 ; Liu et al. 2019 ). Since salinity is easier to measure than the air–sea freshwater

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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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Lijing Cheng, Kevin E. Trenberth, Nicolas Gruber, John P. Abraham, John T. Fasullo, Guancheng Li, Michael E. Mann, Xuanming Zhao, and Jiang Zhu

global surface freshwater flux ( Durack 2015 ). This flux has a distinct pattern with large-scale regions, such as in the subtropics, having a net negative freshwater flux ( E > P ), and large-scale regions in the higher latitudes, having a net positive freshwater flux ( E < P ). This pattern is well reflected in the ocean’s salinity distribution, making salinity a powerful “rain gauge.” This concept can be traced to Wust (1936) and Sverdrup et al. (1942 , 124–127), who noted first the broad

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Shoichiro Kido and Tomoki Tozuka

1. Introduction Salinity, along with temperature, is known as a key parameter in physical oceanography. Since salinity controls the density of the seawater, understanding its spatiotemporal distribution is of great importance for an accurate description of dynamics and thermodynamics of the ocean. However, because of technical difficulty in salinity observation, its variability has not been understood compared to that of temperature. While temperature directly affects the atmosphere as a heat

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Jan D. Zika, Nikolaos Skliris, A. J. George Nurser, Simon A. Josey, Lawrence Mudryk, Frédéric Laliberté, and Robert Marsh

variability from reanalysis products, which often violate basic physical constraints and are inconsistent with observational estimates ( Trenberth et al. 2011 ). With the ocean receiving over 80% of the total global rainfall ( Schanze et al. 2010 ), oceanic observations of salinity offer a unique opportunity in terms of measuring the integrated effect of changes in the hydrological cycle ( Trenberth et al. 2007 ). Only recently, however, has the observational network expanded to the point where the mean

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Stanley S. Jacobs and Claudia F. Giulivi

1. Introduction Salinity declined along the Antarctic continental margin during the late 20th century, more so in the Pacific sector where much of the underlying data were obtained on the Ross Sea continental shelf ( Fig. 1 ; Jacobs and Giulivi 1998 ; Boyer et al. 2005 ). Measurements there typically show shelf water generated during winter sea ice formation, with temperatures near the sea surface freezing point and salinity gradually increasing with depth. Summer observations from 1963

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Johan Nilsson and Heiner Körnich

1. Introduction In the ocean, the temperature is strongly controlled by heat exchange with the atmosphere and the physical properties of seawater. For seawater, the freezing point is slightly below 0°C, setting the lower temperature limit. The warmest waters are encountered in the tropics, where strong negative feedbacks presumably have kept sea surface temperature close to 30°C throughout a considerable part of the earth’s history (cf. Pierrehumbert 1995 , 2002 ). The oceanic salinity field

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Rashmi Sharma, Neeraj Agarwal, Imran M. Momin, Sujit Basu, and Vijay K. Agarwal

1. Introduction Ocean salinity, along with ocean temperature and surface wind, controls the dynamic and thermodynamic behavior of the ocean. It also plays an important role in controlling the mixed layer depth variations, especially at low latitudes, in regions of heavy precipitation ( Sprintall and Tomczak 1992 ; Murtugudde and Busalacchi 1998 ; Han et al. 2001 ). In such regions, with near-surface haline stratification, salinity is known to influence the evolution of mixed layer temperature

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Semjon Schimanke and H. E. Markus Meier

1. Introduction The Baltic Sea is one of the largest brackish sea areas of the world. The sensitive state of the Baltic Sea is sustained through a freshwater surplus by river discharge and net precipitation (precipitation minus evaporation) on one hand and by inflows of highly saline and oxygen-rich water from the North Sea on the other hand. Major Baltic inflows (MBIs), which are crucial for the renewal of the deep water below the permanent halocline, occur intermittently with a mean frequency

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Véronique Lago, Susan E. Wijffels, Paul J. Durack, John A. Church, Nathaniel L. Bindoff, and Simon J. Marsland

1. Introduction Previous works have reported coherent patterns of multidecadal salinity changes within the oceans ( Freeland et al. 1997 ; Wong et al. 1999 , 2001 ; Dickson et al. 2002 ; Curry et al. 2003 ; Boyer et al. 2005 ; Johnson and Lyman 2007 ; Gordon and Giulivi 2008 ; Cravatte et al. 2009 ; Hosoda et al. 2009 ; Roemmich and Gilson 2009 ; von Schuckmann et al. 2009 ; Durack and Wijffels 2010 ; Helm et al. 2010 ; Kouketsu et al. 2010 ; Durack et al. 2013 ; Skliris et al

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