Dr. Verena Hormann
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
OA Section Research Candidate Interview Seminar
interactions in tropical cyclones but also for the calibration and validation of satellite sea
surface temperature products as well as numerical weather prediction and climate studies.
Salinity drifters are an ideal platform to investigate the modulation of sea surface salinity
(SSS) by upper-ocean processes and provide opportunities to improve understanding of the
role of near-surface currents in defining the salinity distribution in the World Ocean.
Study” (SPURS) experiments in the subtropical North Atlantic (SPURS-1) and eastern
tropical Pacific (SPURS-2) as well as efforts in the Bay of Bengal (BoB). During SPURS-1, a
flaw in the algorithm used for the onboard computation of the satellite-transmitted salinities
that introduces a predominantly fresh bias in the noise level of the data has been discovered
and the revision of the salinity sensor’s sampling algorithm has proven successful in the
subsequent SPURS-2 and BoB experiments. The BoB is not only affected by large freshwater
input from rainfall but also by major river runoffs and monsoon-driven reversals of the
seasonal circulation further challenge the quantification of regional air-sea processes. Drifter
observations indicate large variability of the near-surface circulation and SSS in the BoB as
well as elucidate details of two upper-ocean pathways through which freshwater from the
BoB is advected into the tropical Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
The development of low-cost and expendable conductivity sensors will pioneer the large-scale
deployment of salinity drifters which will be of great importance for an increasing need
for in-situ SSS observations for upper-ocean process studies as well as data assimilation
and/or validation of satellite products.