Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ARGO Global Ocean Salinity v. Time

See description of ARGO in the 2 prior posts. Using the Pacific Marine Atlas program to plot average salinity for the entire network from 0-1900m depth shows an increasing trend in salinity over the past 6 years. Note when sea ice & glaciers melt, salinity decreases. From the ARGO website:
Regionally, the ocean becomes fresher or saltier where the balance between evaporation minus rainfall tips in one direction or the other over time. As an integrating measurement made with high accuracy, freshwater content (salinity anomaly over a layer) is the most sensitive yardstick available for observing the global fingerprint of a changing hydrological cycle. A second application of salinity is to diagnose the global volume of ice. Melting of either floating ice or glaciers and ice sheets lowers ocean salinity.

Digitization of this graph for trend line analysis which shows increasing salinity trend 2004-2010:

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