Orinoco and Amazon river outflows

SMOS+SOS scientists at Ifremer have studied regions of high freshwater input such as Orinoco and Amazon river outflows. Comparison between satellite and in situ SSS data at 3-m depth reveals an overall good agreement with a standard deviation of the difference between satellite and in situ of 0.45. In particular, the strong gradient and 3-unit drop observed as the research vessel Pelagia leg crossed the Amazon River plume is well detected by the satellite observations.

New SSS products from satellite platforms such as SMOS allow us in particular to gain insights into the advection pathways of the freshwater Amazon and Orinoco rivers plume along surface currents. For the first time, SMOS sampling capability thus enables imaging the plume structure almost every 3 days with a spatial resolution of about 40 km.

View of Amazon freshwater plume from SMOS

Reference: S. Fournier, Signature des panaches des grands fleuves à la surface des océans : corrélations entre salinité et propriétés optiques déduites de mesures satellites, PhD thesis 2014.