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Sea Surface Salinity

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Microwave sensing of sea surface salinity is a research and development project of NOAA's Oceanic Research and Application Division (ORAD).

Salinity Map Image   This is the first sea surface salinity image ever produced over the United States. It depicts the Chesapeake Bay sea surface salinity plume. NOAA's airborne Scanning Low Frequency Microwave Radiometer(SLFMR) data was collected on September 14, 1996 to produce this image. The SLFMR operates at 1.43 GHz. The radiometric brightness temperature is sensitive to the electrolytic(salt) content of water. The instrument is flown at an altitude of 8,000 feet at a speed of 100 knots covering an area of about 2000 sq kilometers over a period of two hours. The spatial resolution is about 1km and salinity accuracy when compared to in-situ data is better than 1 part per thousand. This product was produced under a collaborative effort between NOAA/NESDIS,Navy/NRL, and Quadrant Engineerg.