NOAA supports the collection of sea surface salinity (SSS) and sea surface temperature (SST) data from thermosalinographs (TSGs) installed on ships of the NOAA fleet and ships of the Ship Of Opportunity Program (SOOP). Both SSS and SST observations from TSGs are part of the Global Ocean Observing System.

The global atmospheric and oceanic observations, including TSG observations from ship under the SOOP and research vessels, have been the foundation for understanding long-term changes in marine climate and are essential input to climate and weather forecast models.

Objectives within the Global Ocean Observing System

NOAA is improving meteorological measurement capabilities on the SOOP and NOAA fleet for enhance marine weather and climate forecasting in general, and concentrate on a specific subset of high accuracy SOOP transects to be frequently repeated and sampled at high resolution for systematic upper ocean and atmospheric measurement. This task will support climate services by providing ocean and atmosphere measurements needed to:

  • Document heat uptake, transport, and release by the ocean.
  • Determine ocean carbon sources and sinks (carbon sampling instrumentation is detailed under a separate task below)
  • Study air-sea exchange of water and the ocean's overturning circulation.
  • Validate future SSS satellite missions.

(From the NOAA Program Plan "Building a Sustained Ocean Observing System for Climate", Office of Climate observations, March 2006)