Sea Surface Salinity and Temperature role in Atlantic Tropical Instability Waves

A recent paper investigates the role of Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) and Sea Surface Temperature (SST), together with Sea Level Anomaly and Argo profiles in Tropical Instability Waves (TIWs) in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean during the period 2010–2018.

Tropical Instability Waves (TIWs) are a phenomenon in which the interface between areas of warm and cold sea surface temperatures near the equator form a regular pattern of westward-propagating waves. These waves are often present in the Atlantic Ocean, extending westward from the African coast.

The study, observing the salinity structure at a scale closer to the SST one thanks to the weekly 50-km SSS time series from the Climate Change Initiative (CCI), quantified the relative contributions of SSS and SST to the horizontal surface density gradient on seasonal and interannual time scales and how they contribute to the TIWs properties and energetics.

Read about results in the paper.

The study was contributed by Living Planet Fellow Audrey Hasson.



Olivier, G. Reverdin, A. Hasson, J. Boutin, Tropical Instability Waves in the Atlantic Ocean: Investigating the Relative Role of Sea Surface Salinity and Temperature From 2010 to 2018 – JGR Oceans, Volume125, Issue12, December 2020


Featured image : Sea Surface Salinity global dataset based on  SMOS, SMAP and Aquarius.