Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas

Seawater Salinity

Salinity - Climatological Mean

Scientifically quality-controlled historical in situ salinity data in the World Ocean Database 2013 obtained from instruments carried aboard oceanographic research ships were used to construct annual, seasonal, and monthly climatological distribution fields of salinity at selected standard depth levels of the world ocean on a 1/10th degree grid. Salinity data distribution for the Gulf of Mexico shows good resolution in the northeast and along most of the U.S. coast, whereas measurements decrease markedly to the west and the south. This map presents the seasonal climatological mean fields of seawater salinity for two water depths (10 meters and 250 meters) on a 1/10th degree grid. Measurements are unitless. easons are as follows: Fall (October - December), Winter (January - March), Spring (April - June), Summer (July - September).

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Salinity Climatological Mean Atlas Dataset

CMECS Salinity Subcomponent

Seasonal five year means, as estimated from MODIS/Aqua satellite imagery, for sea-surface salinity in northern Gulf of Mexico. The ocean color imagery from the MODIS-Aqua satellite from January 2005 - December 2009 was used to estimate sea-surface salinity. This is based on the empirical relationship between color dissolved organic matter (CDOM) absorption and salinity. In situ data from the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) program were overlaid on the modeled data. Both the satellite data and the SEAMAP data were then reclassified into Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) Water Column component categories. The CMECS is a catalog of terms that provides a means for classifying ecological units using a simple, standard format and common terminology. CMECS offers a way to organize and interpret data about the marine environment, and it provides a common platform for inter-relating data. Measurements are unitless. Seasons are as follows: Fall (October - December), Winter (January - March), Spring (April - June), Summer (July - September).

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CMECS Salinity Subcomponent Atlas Dataset

Salinity Zones - Estuarine

This map of estuarine salinity zones is based on analysis of long-term salinity data for 37 Gulf of Mexico estuaries. Each estuary was subdivided into three possible salinity zones between the head of tide and the seaward boundaries, based on annual-averaged and depth-averaged salinities. The three zones include a Tidal Fresh Zone (0 - 0.5 parts per thousand), a Mixing Zone (0.5 - 25 parts per thousand) , and a Seawater Zone (25 parts per thousand or greater). This three-zone scheme is considered static rather than dynamic because it does not take into account the seasonal variations in salinity patterns and stratification that occur in most estuaries. Note that not all estuaries contain all three zones - for example, Baffin Bay, Texas, receives relatively little freshwater inflow, and is considered to be entirely Seawater Zone.

Additional image formats and visualization tools:

Salinity Zones - Estuarine Atlas Dataset