In march 2013 an international experiment, the Salinity Processes in the Upper ocean Regional Study (SPURS), was carried out with the goal of performing a wide range of mesoscale and submesoscale measurements to understand the mechanisms of formation and permanence of the largest ocean salinity maximum in the centre of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. Several standard and prototype instruments were used in measuring the Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) and other ocean variables. Among many activities developed during the SPURS-MIDAS cruise, the ICM contribution to SPURS, a set of new Lagrangian drifters to measure the SST and SSS were deployed. These were part of a total set of 114 similar drifters deployed during the whole experiment (Centurioni et al, 2015). Now almost three years later, three of these units are still providing data after performing a big tour around the North Atlantic.
New experimental SMOS Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) maps at high latitudes, including Arctic Ocean open water regions, have been computed at BEC using a new methodological approach that substantially reduces land-sea and RFI contamination effects, as well as other intrumental biases.
SMOS Sea Surface Salinity map on 1st September 2011
Ocean currents are a key element for the understanding of many oceanic and climatic phenomena and their knowledge is crucial for navigation and operational applications. Following the official broadening of its scope, BEC has extended its research activity towards the diagnosis of ocean surface currents from satellite observations. This new research line, led by Dr. Jordi Isern-Fontanet, is being funded through the ComFuturo program (http://comfuturo.es/proyectos/) granted by the Fundación General del CSIC (http://www.fgcsic.es/) and through the GlobCurrent project (http://www.globcurrent.org/) funded by ESA.
Experimental SMOS SSS maps of the Mediterranean Sea are being computed at BEC using a new methodological approach to cope with land and RFI contamination. Three different products are being analysed: monthly binned maps at a 1×1 deg grid; optimal interpolated maps at 0.25×0.25 deg; and daily products at 0.25×0.25 deg through fusion with Reynolds SST. The preliminary assessment of the monthly product shows an RMS with respect to ARGO of 0.35 psu. These maps will be available soon in our CP34-BEC data distribution system, so keep watching!
With its more than 3500 automatic profilers, the Argo array is one of the most important component of the Global in-situ Ocean Observing System. The array provides measurements of temperature and salinity profiles down to 2000 m. These data are rapidly expanding the historical database of the ocean sub-surface (specially in the case of ocean salinity) and are providing novel information about the ocean’s vertical structure and its variability. Moreover, these data allow real-time monitoring, model-constraining and contribute to calibration and verification efforts.
Figure 1: Number of Argo profiles from January 2005 to December 2014: Shown are the total number of profiles, the delayed mode profiles as for April 27, and the number of delayed mode profiles with salinity.
The Euro-Argo (www.euro-argo.eu) research infrastructure, designed to coordinate the European contribution to Argo, is part of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). Euro-Argo is expected to provide additional 50 floats per year and support about the 25% of
the Argo array.
On January 31st, NASA successfully launched the SMAP satellite onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. The satellite, designed to collect high resolution soil moisture maps on a global scale every two to three days, will improve the ability to forecast droughts, forest fires and floods, and will help in crop planning and rotation. On February 24th the reflector antenna was successfully deployed and in the following days the first radiometric data have been acquired.
Image: NASA, United Launch Alliance
In order to obtain detailed soil moisture measurements of the entire world, SMAP is placed in a near-polar sun-synchronous orbit, allowing the observatory to use Earth’s natural spin to maximize the area that can be scanned by the satellite’s instruments. The orbiter will use its L-band radar and L-band radiometer to scan the top 2 inches (5 cm) of our planet’s soil with a resolution of around 31 miles (50 km).
New Year, new challenges!
The SMOS BEC team wishes you Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013 full of achievements.
SSS measured by a volunteer yatch participating in the Barcelona World Race.