Science Meetings

New Approaches to Understanding the Madden-Julian Oscillation Using Aquarius Salinity
Subrahmanyam, B. and Grunseich, G. (26-Feb-14)

In this study we show that data from the newly launched NASA Aquarius/SAC-D salinity mission can accurately detect the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) propagation. The processes through which the sea surface salinity (SSS) patterns develop depend upon anomalous atmospheric conditions and oceanic conditions during the different stages of the MJO. The magnitude and extent of salinity variations at the true surface during the MJO is established, providing a useful tool for data assimilation into models as well as indirectly verify oceanic and atmospheric processes on the intraseasonal timescale. Atmospheric conditions can be inferred from salinity measurements, as surface salinity is highly dependent on freshwater flux. Numerous indirect feedbacks may be produced by salinity variability, which could be the result of salinity altering the depth of the Barrier Layer (BL) and mixed layer. In remote regions of the tropics, increased observations of global SSS from the Aquarius mission will be particularly valuable. These measurements are expected to increase our dynamical understanding and advance prediction of the MJO through model improvement and verification.