What Percentage Of The Ocean Is Salt – This page contains archived content and will no longer be updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science.

Salinity—the amount of salt dissolved in water—is critical to many aspects of the ocean, from circulation to climate and the global water cycle. For most of the past year, NASA and Argentina’s Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE) have been conducting comprehensive observations of sea surface salinity from space. The Aquarius mission, which launched on June 10, 2011, is slowly building a more complete picture of the salty sea and how it is changing.

What Percentage Of The Ocean Is Salt

The map above shows salinity near the ocean surface as measured by the Aquarius instrument on the Satélite de Aplicaciones CientÃficas (SAC)-D satellite. The depicted data shows average salinity from 27 May to 2 June 2012 ranging from 30 to 40 g/kg, with an average of 35 g. Lower values ​​are shown in purple and blue. Higher values ​​are shown in shades of orange and red. Black areas occur where no data was available, either due to satellite orbit or because the ocean is covered by ice, which Aquarius cannot see.

Why Is The Ocean Salty?

Click on the animation below the main image to see salinity patterns change week by week over the past year. A few features stand out. As oceanographers have known for years – but can now “see” – the Atlantic Ocean is saltier than the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Rivers such as the Amazon carry large amounts of fresh runoff from land and spread masses out to sea. And in the tropics—especially near the Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone—extra rainfall makes the tropical waters somewhat fresher.

Near most coastlines and inland seas on the map, the waters appear much fresher or saltier than open ocean locations. For example, look at the Red Sea and the Mediterranean for saltier waters. Fresher waters appear in the Black Sea, in glacial latitudes, and around many islands and peninsulas in Southeast Asia. In fact, river runoff and melting ice make the water sweeter, and strong evaporation and other processes make the Red and Mediterranean seas saltier. But most of those extreme measurements of salinity around coastlines are distortions of the satellite signal.

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Technically, Aquarius measures the emissivity, or “brightness temperature,” of surface waters, notes Aquarius principal investigator Gary Lagerloff, based at Earth and Space Research in Seattle. Land masses have a higher emissivity than the ocean, so any measurements near land will be biased by its brightness. Over time, the Aquarius research team should be able to calibrate the measurements and develop mathematical tools to better detect the salt signal. But for now, the measurements are so new that the team is still working on the big picture of ocean salinity.

Aquarius is NASA’s first instrument specifically designed to study surface ocean salinity from space, doing so at a rate of 300,000 measurements per month. It uses three passive microwave sensors called radiometers to record thermal signals from 10 millimeters (about 0.4 inches) above the oceans.

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“A fundamental question in climate research is to understand how changes in the Earth’s water cycle—meaning precipitation and evaporation, river discharge, etc.—and ocean circulation and climate are linked,” says Lagerlof. Most global precipitation and evaporation events occur over the ocean and are very difficult to measure. But rainfall refreshes the surface waters of the ocean, and Aquarius can detect these changes in salinity. Salinity is a variable that we can use to measure that pair. “This is a critical factor and will eventually be used to improve weather forecasts.”

NASA images by Norman Coring, Goddard Space Flight Center. Animation by Robert Simon. Commentary by Mike Karlovich, Earth Observatory, with reporting by Maria Jose Vinas, NASA Earth Science News Team.

A year after launch, the Aquarius instrument provides ocean science with its first global view of sea surface salinity.

By examining temperatures from the deep ocean, JPL scientists found that the lower layers of the western Pacific and Indian Oceans warmed significantly over a decade as surface temperatures dropped.

Awesome Benefits Of Using Sea Salt In Your Diet

In the Atlantic Ocean, off the coasts of Spain and Portugal, giant, salty eddies of warm water are submerged. These deep-water eddies are part of the ocean’s circulation system and help drive ocean currents that moderate Earth’s climate. Warm water is usually at the surface of the ocean, but the warm water coming out of the Mediterranean is so salty (and therefore dense) that it sinks to depths of over 1,000 when it enters the Atlantic at the Strait of Gibraltar. meters (one and a half miles) along the continental shelf. This underwater river then splits into clockwise eddies that may continue to spin westward for more than two years, often combining with other eddies to form giant salt eddies that may stretch for hundreds of miles. Have. Since eddies originate in the Mediterranean Sea, scientists call them “Meddies”. Most of the water in Earth’s atmosphere and on its crust comes from salty seawater, while fresh water makes up about 1% of all water. Most of the water on Earth is brackish or salt water, with an average salinity of 35‰ (or 3.5%, roughly equivalent to 34 grams of salt per 1 kilogram of seawater), although this varies slightly with runoff. Received from surrounding land Combined, water from oceans and marginal seas, saline groundwater, and water from closed saline lakes make up more than 97% of the water on Earth, although no single closed lake stores a significant amount of water globally. Saline groundwater is rarely considered, except for water quality assessment in arid regions.

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The rest of the Earth’s water forms the planet’s source of fresh water. Typically, freshwater is defined as water with a salinity of less than 1% of ocean salinity—that is, less than about 0.35‰. Water with a salinity between this level and 1‰ is usually referred to as marginal water because it is marginal for many human and animal uses. The ratio of salt water to fresh water on Earth is about 50 to 1.

The planet’s fresh water is also very unevenly distributed. Although during warm periods such as the Mesozoic and Paleozoic, when there were no glaciers anywhere on the planet, all fresh water was found in rivers and streams, but today most fresh water exists in the form of ice, snow, groundwater and soil moisture. which is only 0.3. percent as liquid on the surface. Of the liquid surface fresh water, 87% is in lakes, 11% in swamps and only 2% in rivers. Small amounts of water are also present in the atmosphere and living organisms.

Although the total volume of groundwater is known to be much greater than river runoff, a large portion of this groundwater is saline and should therefore be classified as highly saline. There is also a large amount of fossil groundwater in arid regions that has never been renewed for thousands of years. This should not be considered renewable water.

What If You Drink Saltwater?

The total volume of water on Earth is estimated to be 1.386 billion square kilometers (333 million cubic miles), of which 97.5% is salt water and 2.5% is fresh water. Of fresh water, only 0.3% is liquid on the surface.

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Because the oceans, which cover approximately 63% of Earth’s surface, reflect blue light, Earth appears blue from space and is often referred to as the Blue Planet and the Pale Blue Spot. Liquid fresh water such as lakes and rivers covers about 1% of the earth’s surface

Canadian cities Thunder Bay, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Toronto, Oshawa, and Kingston, as well as US cities such as Detroit, Duluth, Milwaukee, Chicago, Gary, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Rochester are all located on the coast. Great Lakes System

Fresh ground water is especially valuable in dry countries like China. Its distribution is broadly similar to surface river water, but it is easier to store in hot, dry climates because groundwater storage is much more protected from evaporation than dams. In countries like Yemen, groundwater from irregular rainfall during the rainy season is the main source of irrigation water.

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Because groundwater recharge is much more difficult to accurately measure than surface runoff, groundwater is typically not used in areas where relatively limited levels of surface water are available. Today, estimates of total groundwater recharge vary greatly depending on the source used and where fossil groundwater is used beyond the recharge rate (including the Ogallala Aquifer).

Rivers and basins are often compared not by their static volume, but by their water flow or surface runoff. The distribution of river runoff on the surface of the earth is very uneven.

There may be many changes in these areas. For example, a quarter of Australia’s limited renewable freshwater resources are found on the nearly uninhabited Cape York Peninsula.

Also, in water-rich regions, there are areas that are severely water-scarce, such as Texas in North America, whose renewable water reserves are only 26 cubic kilometers per year.

Ocean Layers & Mixing

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