Aquarius: Status and recent results

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Abstract

Aquarius is a combination active/passive instrument at L band designed to map sea surface salinity globally from space. The radiometer (passive) is the primary instrument for retrieving salinity, and the scatterometer (active) provides information to correct for a major source of error, sea surface roughness (waves). In addition, the radiometer includes a number of special features designed to meet the goal for this challenging measurement, including measurement of the third Stokes parameter to help with the correction for Faraday rotation and rapid sampling to help with the mitigation of radio frequency interference. Aquarius was launched on 10 June 2011 aboard the Aquarius/SAC-D observatory and has been working well. The salinity retrieval continues to improve, and the special features suggest the potential for new applications of remote sensing from space at L band.

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