Science Meetings

Rainfall Imprint on Sea Surface Salinity in the ITCZ: New Satellite Perspectives
Boutin, J., Viltard, N., Supply, A., Martin, N., Vergely, J., Hénocq, C., and Reverdin, G.P. (24-Feb-16)

The European Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite mission monitors sea surface salinity (SSS) over the global ocean for more than 5 years since 2010. The MADRAS microwave radiometer carried by the French (CNES) Indian (ISRO) satellite mission Megha-Tropiques sampled the 30° N-30° S region end of 2011 and in 2012, very complementary to other Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) missions.

In tropical regions, SMOS SSS contains a large imprint of atmospheric rainfall, but is also likely affected by oceanographic processes (advection and diffusion). At local and short time scales, Boutin et al. (2013, 2014) have shown that the spatio-temporal variability of SSS is dominated by rainfall as detected by satellite microwave radiometers and have demonstrated a close to linear relationship between SMOS SSS freshening under rain cells and satellite rain rate. The order of magnitude is in remarkable agreement with the theoretical renewal model of Schlussel et al. (1997) and compatible with AQUARIUS SSS observations, as well as with in situ drifters observations although the latter are local and taken at 45cm depth while satellite L-band SSS roughly correspond to the top 1cm depth and are spatially integrated over 43-150km. It is thus expected that the combined information of satellite rain rates and satellite SSS brings new constraints on the precipitation budget. We first look at the consistency between the spatial structures of SMOS SSS decrease and of rain rates derived either from the MADRAS microwave radiometer or from the CMORPH combined products that do not use MADRAS rain rates. This provides an indirect validation of the rain rates estimates. We then investigate the impact of rain history and of wind speed on the observed SMOS freshening. Based on these results, we discuss the precision on various precipitation estimates over 2012 in the ITCZ region and the major sources of uncertainties that the SPURS2 campaign could help to resolve.