Atmosphere Ocean Science Student Seminar

Examining the mechanisms behind changing surface salinity distributions

Speaker: Aurora Basinski, CAOS

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1314

Date: Friday, December 3, 2021, 4 p.m.


Under anthropogenic forcing, observations and models show that areas at the surface of the ocean that are saltier (fresher) than average in the climatological mean become saltier (fresher). This amplified surface salinity pattern is linked both to an intensifying water cycle and changing ocean transport, but differences in surface salinity change due to each of these factors have not been fully characterized. In this talk, I will explore the response of surface salinity in ocean-only models with identical surface heat or freshwater fluxes. A metric using percentiles to quantify the change in the probability distribution function of surface salinity will be used to demonstrate the distinct response resulting from each of the two forcings. A preliminary analysis of ocean transport processes which change the surface salinity distribution under a surface heat flux forcing will be discussed.