Salt is essential. Circulating through our bodies and our seas, it impacts the health of people and the planet. Salt dissolved in seawater – measured as salinity – drives currents that distribute heat and carbon around the globe. So, salt not only preserves our food, it helps to preserve our climate by contributing to global ocean circulation.

Earth is an ocean planet. Key water cycle processes – precipitation and evaporation – mostly occur over the ocean. Thus, monitoring sea surface salinity patterns provides important clues about changes in our environment.

NASA observes salinity. Merging data from satellites and other instruments, our mission is to better understand ocean circulation, the water cycle, and climate.

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Science »

Salinity Stories
Check out our interactive stories centered on ocean salinity and its importance to our lives.
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Ocean sunset
Rain over the ocean

Latest News »

Multi-Mission Optimally Interpolated Sea Surface Salinity (OISSS) Level 4 V1.0 Dataset Release (30-Jun-21).
Hurricanes Wakes Show Asymmetrical Response in Ocean Salinity (21-Jan-21). American Geophysical Union editors have highlighted the work of scientists examining the ties between sea surface salinity and hurricanes. Their study shows that hurricanes can induce an ocean salinity response in unexpected ways.
JPL V5 Data Release (11-Dec-20). The PO.DAAC is pleased to announce the availability of the PI-produced JPL V5.0 SMAP Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) and extreme winds data.
Recent Publications »
Ashafahani, A.A., Wirasatriya, A., Pranowo, W.S., Sugianto, D.N., and Maslukah, L. (in press). The Dynamic of Convergence Zone Displacement in Western Pacific Ocean on 2015 Super El Niño Event
Dash, P., Devkota, M., Mercer, A., and Ambinakudige, S. (2021). A Geographic Weighted Regression Approach for Improved Total Alkalinity Estimates in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
Broggio, M., Garcia, C., and da Silva, R. (2021). Evaluation of South Atlantic Thermohaline Properties from BESM-OA2.5 and Three Additional Global Climate Models
Olivier, L., Boutin, J., Reverdin, G., Lefèvre, N., Landschützer, P., Speich, S., Karstensen, J., Ritschel, M., and Wanninkhof, R. (2021). Impact of North Brazil Current Rings on Air-sea CO2 Flux Variability in Winter 2020
Jiang, X., Dong, C., Ji, Y., Wang, C., Shu, Y., Liu, L., and Ji, J. (2021). Influences of Deep-Water Seamounts on the Hydrodynamic Environment in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean
  • Salt grains on a tabletop
  • Magnified salt crystals
  • Sunset over the ocean
  • Ocean currents
  • Polar bear
  • Canister of salt

Meetings »

Ocean Salinity Conference 2022
June 6-9, 2022
Columbia University, New York City, New York, USA (an in-person event with a virtual participation option)
Conference Website | Abstract Submission Form | Registration
The Ocean Salinity Conference aims to foster scientific exchanges and collaborations in the broad community involved in ocean salinity science, applications, technology development, product services, and community building. This conference (postponed from November 2020) is part of a series of international salinity community meetings (Brest, France - 2013, Exeter, UK - 2014, Hamburg, Germany - 2015, Falmouth/MA, USA - 2017, and Paris, France - 2018). The conference presentations and discussion will review recent progress, identify knowledge and capability gaps, and chart the way forward to sustain and enhance the ocean salinity observing system as well as to maximize the value of the resulting measurements.