Science Meetings

Improving Knowledge of the Surface Salinity Annual Cycle with Aquarius Satellite Measurements
Lagerloef, S.E. (16-Dec-16)

"To improve knowledge of the ocean surface salinity annual cycle, and its link to global precipitation patterns, remains a key science measurement objective for satellites. The Aquarius satellite data are applied here to address this, and the analysis is not as straightforward as it may seem. Sensor calibration is considered carefully to ensure that seasonality in external calibration data sources do not alias the satellite measurements. For example, quasi-monthly calibration error signals were identified early in the Aquarius mission. Subsequently, Aquarius data processing has relied primarily on an ocean target calibration method, whereby the satellite observations were co-located with output from the US Navy operational HYCOM model to adjust for these quasi-monthly calibration drifts. It was later determined that HYCOM salinity fields are themselves adjusted with a climatological restoring term, that imprints the seasonal climatology signal on the sensor calibration. When that output is compared with a parallel Aquarius data processing that bypasses the HYCOM ocean target calibration, and substitutes a simulation of the sensor electronics, the globally averaged output show very different annual signals between these trials. A modified ocean-target calibration, that employs satellite data matched directly with the in situ observations, is presently being investigated. The methodology uses signal processing to separate the satellite-in situ differences related to the sensor calibration from geophysical error sources. This remains a work-in-progress, and the results, with any unresolved issues, will be discussed. The presentation will also provide a very brief summary of Aquarius scientific accomplishments, the final “legacy” data set production, and the program to continue salinity data processing from other satellites."