Mission Status & Events

Update From Aquarius PI Gary Lagerloef: Recent and Upcoming Aquarius Science Activities
[13-May-13] Here is a very belated newsletter about recent and upcoming Aquarius science activities.

1. 25 April, marked the completion of 20 months since the start of routine data collection on 25 August 2011. Most of you are aware that the Aquarius project released Version 2.0 (V2.0) data files in late February via the NASA PO.DAAC. A thorough presentation of the processing, calibration and error analysis was done in the form an open web meeting in late January with more than 100 participants. A key improvement in this data set is in correcting the quasi-monthly calibration oscillations evident in the previous version (V1.3). However, users should be aware that the V2.0 data still contain systematic inaccuracies that could be misinterpreted, especially on the seasonal cycle. These are carefully documented in the Aquarius Salinity data validation analysis available, along with other important documents, on the PO.DAAC Aquarius link. PLEASE READ THIS REPORT if you are doing any scientific analyses with the data. The seasonal oscillations are attributed to the corrections to the galactic reflection and are linked to the relative position of the galaxy in the sky over the course of the year. A new processing version that corrects much of this problem, as well as other issues, is now being tested and likely to be released mid year.

2. Journal of Geophysical Research (Oceans) Special Section opens in July. As announced in previous bulletins and emails late last year, the JGR special section titled Early scientific results from the salinity measuring satellites Aquarius/SAC-D and SMOS, will be open for submitting papers this year from 1 July to 31 October 2013. The topics will cover new science results, data validation, modeling and analysis, and related topics. Beginning 1 July, authors will find a link in GEMS for submitting manuscripts to the special section. There is already considerable interest in contributing papers to this landmark JGR collection.

3. The next Aquarius/SAC-D Science Team Meeting will be held in Argentina the week of 11-15 November 2013. Read the announcement here. Please mark your calendars. The longer-range plan is to hold the subsequent meeting in the US around September 2014.

Other recent news. A Joint SMOS Aquarius Science Workshop was hosted by ESA and IFREMER at Brest France, 15-17 April 2013. The workshop focused on two themes common to both missions' salinity measurements: One is the SMOS-Aquarius inter-comparison working group, chaired by David LeVine, and the other is the Satellite & In Situ Salinity (SISS) working group (understanding stratification and sub-footprint processes) chaired by Yi Chao and Jacqueline Boutin.

The program for the Joint Workshop and access to presentations are available here.

Mission status. The Aquarius sensor and the SAC-D observatory continue to perform well. During much of the second half of 2012 there were interruptions in the precise geodetic pointing, and some safe hold events. These occurred during the first and last quarters of the lunar cycle as the moonlight sometimes interfered with the star tracker. In November, 2012 the Flight Operations Team implemented ways to mitigate this problem and it has since been under control. A number of cold-sky calibration maneuvers have also been done in recent months. A chronology of SAC-D/Aquarius maneuvers, anomalies and events is available here, and can also be accessed from the main Aquarius webpage via the Data link.