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Investigating the internnual variations in salinity in the South Atlantic (VARSALAS)

Grant number: 10/15511-2
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: August 01, 2011 - July 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Physical Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Olga Tiemi Sato
Grantee:Olga Tiemi Sato
Host Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Paulo Simionatto Polito


Salinity is the second most important component of the equation of state that governs the motion of the ocean. It contributes directly to the thermohaline circulation; it is a sensitive indicator of the global hydrological cycle; and through its connection with latent heat, it is implicitly linked with the heat exchanged at the air-sea interface. Salinity variations and trends at inter-annual and decadal scales could be related to changes in the global climate. One of the objectives of this study is to determine a climatology and improve our knowledge of the spatial and temporal variability of surface and sub-surface salinity field in the southwestern Atlantic. The scientific hypothesis to be proven on this study is that the fluctuations and trends observed in the salinity field of the region are dominate by changes in the ocean stratification, including the formation of the subtropical mode water. Surface variations linked with the hydrological cycle may play a minor role. Therefore, we envision the necessity of amassing the large possible number of oceanographic profiles to obtain the most comprehensive description of the interior of the ocean by using in situ historical data, data from Argo drifters, reanalysis model (GODAS), and climatology (World Ocean Database 2009). Mode waters have well-defined characteristics and a bulky size, thus they could significantly affect the integrated density field, heat storage, and the oceanic heat fluxes at interannual scales. Therefore, we will work on a method to detect its signature at the surface so that we will be able to observe it from satellite data. The relationship between salinity with temperature, latent heat, precipitation, and heat storage will be sought from a multi-satellite approach using data from TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, TRMM, SSM/I, and AMSR-E. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SATO, O. T.; POLITO, P. S.. Observation of South Atlantic subtropical mode waters with Argo profiling float data. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS, v. 119, n. 5, p. 2860-2881, . (10/15511-2)

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