Scientists Launching Satellite to Measure Saltiness of Seas


Artist's illustration of the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft, scheduled for launch in May 2010. It will be the first NASA instrument to measure sea salinity from space. Credit: NASA/JPL via Science Daily

The salinity of the ocean says a lot about climate change and impacts of a warmer globe. That's something scientists announced a couple years ago. Now, research is turning towards how the oceans' saltiness is changing to try and determine what we can expect for floods, droughts, and even warmer temperatures. So, a project is underway to launch a satellite that will measure the salinity of the seas. Science Daily reports:

Now, new research coming out of the United Kingdom (U.K.) suggests that the amount of salt in seawater is varying in direct response to man-made climate change. Working with colleagues to sift through data collected over the past 50 years, Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office in Exeter, England, studied whether or not human-induced climate change could be responsible for rises in salinity that have been recorded in the subtropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean, areas at latitudes immediately north and south of Earth’s tropics.

First, the salinity of the oceans determines in part its currents. A change in salinity likely means a change in ocean circulation, which would drastically affect marine life. It's something that already is happening. Second, salt levels in the ocean also determine rain patterns. And it appears that precipitation is already experiencing a shift.

Part of the research going into measuring salinity of the seas includes launching a satellite. Gary Lagerloef and Amit Sen of project Aquarius are working on getting a satellite into orbit that will measure the salt levels from space. The satellite is set to launch in May of 2010 and they feel it will take highly accurate measurements, helping to further research on how salinity is changing globally.

More interesting facts about the satellite are available at Science Daily
More on Global Ocean Changes
Ocean Saltiness Provides Early Warning System for Climate Change
Another Dire Global Warming Effect: 10 Times As Many Ocean Dead Zones
Climate Change Causing Ocean Dead Zones to Grow
We're Beginning to See Hints That Ocean Circulation is Changing: International Polar Year Director

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects | Oceans