A Map That Shows How Salty the Seas AreS

Some briny deeps are brinier than others. The Atlantic Ocean has two huge "deserts" of extra-salty water, the result of little rainfall and lots of evaporation.

These tangy tracts have been revealed by NASA's Aquarius instrument, which is aboard Argentina's Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft and is dedicated to studying the salt content of the oceans.

NASA has just released the first year of data from Aquarius, running from December 2011 to December 2012. In the image above, red and orange areas are very salty, while green and blue areas are less so.

Patterns of salinity are expected to change over the coming decades as the climate shifts, with knock-on effects for major currents and regional sea level rise.

A Map That Shows How Salty the Seas AreNew Scientist reports, explores and interprets the results of human endeavour set in the context of society and culture, providing comprehensive coverage of science and technology news.