Summary of the 2022 Ocean Salinity Conference
Ocean salinity is a key variable within the Earth’s water cycle and a key driver of ocean dynamics. Sea surface salinity (SSS) and subsurface salinity have been identified as Essential Climate Variables by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and Essential Ocean Variables by the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Through the advent of new observing technologies for salinity and the efforts to synthesize salinity measurements with other observations and numerical models, salinity science and applications have significantly advanced over recent years.
The 2022 Ocean Salinity Conference convened on 6-9 June 2022 at Columbia University, New York, NY, USA in hybrid format was attended by approximately 120 international researchers (with about 60 in-person and 60 virtual participants). The conference featured 53 early-career (including students and postdocs) presenters, which accounted for 48% of the conference presentations, a significant increase in the proportion of early-career presentations compared to those in previous ocean salinity conferences. Early-career researchers also served as rapporteurs for two of the three breakout discussion sessions and reported the discussion summaries in the final plenary session.
The conference featured continuing efforts and new studies that increasingly push and widen the envelope for applications of salinity measurements, including topics with significant societal relevance, as well as studies of regions having significant challenges for the salinity observing system. The conference presentations and discussions resulted in a number of key recommendations related to enhancing the societal value of salinity measurements, continuing and improving the satellite and in-situ salinity observing systems, augmenting salinity field campaigns for process understanding and mission support, strengthening the utility of salinity measurements through modeling and assimilation, improving the understanding of salinity processes and salinity’s roles in the Earth’s climate system, as well as further improving satellite SSS retrievals (especially in high-latitude regions), the uncertainty estimations of satellite and in-situ salinity data (including representation errors), and multi-mission satellite SSS products.
The next Ocean Salinity Conference will be held in Europe sometime during the fall of 2023 or spring of 2024.