Reverdin, G, Blouch, P, Boutin, J, Niiler, PP, Rolland, J, Scuba, W, Lourenco, A, Rios, AF (2007). Surface salinity measurements - COSMOS 2005 experiment in the Bay of Biscay. JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC TECHNOLOGY, 24(9), 1643-1654.
Sea surface salinity (SSS) data were collected in the Bay of Biscay between April and November 2005. The major source of data is 15 surface drifters deployed during the COSMOS experiment in early April and early May 2005 [ 12 from the Scripps Instution of Oceanography (SIO) and 3 from METOCEAN]. This is complemented by thermosalinograph (TSG) data from four French research vessels and four merchant vessels, from salinity profiles collected by Argo profiling floats and CTD casts, and from surface samples during two cruises. Time during the two cruises was dedicated to direct inspection of the drifters, recovering some, and providing validation data. This dataset provides a unique opportunity to estimate the accuracy of the SSS data and to evaluate the long-term performance of the drifter salinities. Some of the TSG SSS data were noisy, presumably from bubbles. The TSG data from the research vessels needed to be corrected from biases, which are very commonly larger than 0.1 pss-78 ( practical salinity scale), and which in some instances evolved quickly from day to day. These corrections are only available when samples were collected or ancillary data are available ( e. g., from CTD profiles). The resulting accuracy of the corrected TSG dataset, which varies strongly in time, is discussed. The surface drifter SSS data presented anomalous daytime values during days with strong surface warming. These data had to be excluded from the dataset. The drifter SSS presented initial biases in the range 0.009 to -0.026 pss-78. The ( usually) negative bias increased by an average of -0.007 pss-78 during the average 65-day period before the COSMOS-2 cruise on 22-27 June. High chlorophyll derived from satellite ocean color, and therefore high density of phytoplanktonic cells, is observed in Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS)/Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS) composites during part of the period, in particular in late April or early May. No correlation was found between the change in bias and the estimated surface chlorophyll. Evolution during the following summer months is harder to ascertain. For three buoys, there is little change in bias, but for two others, there could have been an increase in bias by up to 0.03 or 0.04 pss-78 during July-August. Seven drifters were recovered in the autumn, which provide recovery or postrecovery estimates of the biases, suggesting in three cases ( out of seven) a large ( 0.02-0.03 pss-78) increase in bias during the autumn months, but no significant increase for the other four drifters.