Estimating absolute salinity (SA) in the world[U+05F3]s oceans using density and composition

Ryan J. Woosley, Fen Huang, Frank J. Millero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The practical (Sp) and reference (SR) salinities do not account for variations in physical properties such as density and enthalpy. Trace and minor components of seawater, such as nutrients or inorganic carbon affect these properties. This limitation has been recognized and several studies have been made to estimate the effect of these compositional changes on the conductivity-density relationship. These studies have been limited in number and geographic scope. Here, we combine the measurements of previous studies with new measurements for a total of 2857 conductivity-density measurements, covering all of the world[U+05F3]s major oceans, to derive empirical equations for the effect of silica and total alkalinity on the density and absolute salinity of the global oceans and to recommend an equation applicable to most of the world[U+05F3]s oceans. The potential impact on salinity as a result of uptake of anthropogenic CO2 is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Absolute salinity
  • Density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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