Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

Estuarine Science


What is the salinity in the open ocean?

The open ocean typically has surface salinities between 32 and 37 ppt. The salinity may be lower near where large rivers drain into the ocean. The salinity of 75% of the water in the ocean is between 34 and 35 ppt. The surface ocean salinity is high in the subtropics because of all the evaporation.

Salinity (PSU)

Plot of the annual average salinity in the Atlantic Ocean. Data from the NOAA NODC World Ocean Atlas 1998.
(Click for larger image)

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