Why is salinity important?

  • Salinity, along with temperature, determines the density of seawater, and hence its vertical flow patterns in thermohaline circulation.
  • Salinity records the physical processes affecting a water mass when it was last at the surface.
  • precipitation/evaporation – salts excluded from vapor
  • freezing/thawing – salts excluded from ice
  • Salinity can be used as a conservative (unchanging) tracer for determining the origin and mixing of water types.