Testing a New Approach to Long-term Salinity Measurements


OCCI Funded Project: 2007


A fundamental question in climate change science is whether the global water cycle will accelerate with increasing temperatures. Since most of the water cycle occurs unmonitored over the oceans, a key indication of a changing water cycle can be found in trends in the surface salinity distribution.Salinity is greatly under-sampled at present, and we propose to remedy this deficit with deployment of new WHOI-developed technology to make long-term salinity measurements from surface drifters.We plan to use this proof of concept to catalyze a commitment on the part of NOAA to instrument the surface drifters of the global drifter program with salinity sensors. This will generate new and unprecedented monitoring capabilities for salinity and enable the first truly global studies of the water cycle.It will be especially valuable in high latitude regions of the North Atlantic where planned satellite remote sensing technology will be ineffective.