CCI Salinity

Generating improved calibrated global Sea Surface Salinity fields from all available satellite L-band radiometer measure

Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) is an Essential Climate Variable (ECV) that plays a fundamental role in the density-driven global ocean circulation, the water cycle and climate.

The satellite SSS observation from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS), Aquarius, and Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) missions have provided an unprecedented opportunity to map SSS over the global ocean since 2010 at a 40-150km scale with a revisit every 2 to 3 days. This observation capability has no historical precedent and has brought new findings concerning the monitoring of SSS variations related to climate variabilities such as El NiƱo-Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole, and Madden-Julian Oscillation, and the linkages of the ocean with different elements of the water cycle such as evaporation and precipitation and continental runoff. In addition, it has enhanced the understanding of various ocean processes such as tropical instability waves, Rossby waves, mesoscale eddies and related salt transport, salinity fronts, haline hurricane wake, river plume variability, and cross-shelf exchanges. There is also an emerging use of satellite SSS to study ocean biogeochemistry, e.g. linked to air-sea CO2 fluxes.

Following the success of the initial oceanographic studies implementing this new variable, the European Space Agency (ESA) funded a new Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) project (2018-2025). The CCI+SSS project aims to generate improved calibrated global SSS fields over sixteen years (2010-2025) from all available satellite L-band radiometer measurements, with regional extensions utilising C-band radiometer data. This initiative seeks to leverage the full potential of the ESA/Earth Explorer SMOS mission, in conjunction with the SMAP and AQUARIUS satellite missions, by assembling expert teams in earth observation, satellite data validation, and the study of climate variability.

CCI+SSS is dedicated to delivering data products adapted explicitly to climate applications (i.e. including information on accuracy and uncertainty within the data). Furthermore, this project will explore the need to improve the performance of current SSS algorithm retrievals and directly contribute to climate science studies submitted to the following International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Annual Review for Climate Change in 2020. This initiative underscores the indispensable role of SSS in our understanding of climate dynamics, offering valuable insights for academics, students, environmentalists, and policymakers engaged in climate change research.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SSS?

SSS stands for Sea Surface Salinity. For more information, please refer to the Useful Links section above.

Where can I find SSS data?

The Data section above contains links to data provided by this project. The Related Links section contains alternative data sources.

What is CCI?

CCI stands for the Climate Change Initiative, a programme initiated by ESA. For more information, please refer to the CCI homepage.

What is ECV?

ECV stands for Essential Climate Variable. For more information, please refer to the ECV Inventory page.

What is ESA?

ESA stands for the European Space Agency. For more information, please visit the ESA website.

What is EO?

EO stands for Earth Observation.