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Severine Fournier

Photo of Severine Fournier


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 300-323

Pasadena, CA 91109



Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Ocean Circulation And Air Sea Interaction


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Dr. Severine Fournier is a research scientist in the Ocean Circulation and Air-Sea Interaction group at JPL. She currently studies linkages of the ocean with the Earth water cycle, including land-sea exchanges using principally satellite sea surface salinity and temperature, altimetry, ocean currents and ocean color measurements.

She is the Deputy Project Scientist for the Sentinel-6 Mike Freilich mission, the Deputy Lead of the NASA Ocean Salinity Science Team, and a Deputy PI for the Arctic Salinity field campaign Salinity And Stratification at the Sea Ice Edge (SASSIE).

She did her PhD at IFREMER, the French National Oceanographic Center on the relationship between sea surface salinity and optical properties in river plumes using satellite measurements. She joined JPL in 2015.


  • Ph.D., IFREMER, LOS, Brest, France with Nicolas Reul and Bertrand Chapron, with Honors (2014)
  • M.Sc. Physical Methods in Remote sensing, University Paris 7, France (2010)
  • M.Sc. Hydrography-Oceanography, Category A IHO Certificate, ENSTA Bretagne, Brest, France (2009)

Professional Experience

  • NASA Ocean Salinity Science Team Deputy Lead (2022-present)
  • Jason-CS / Sentinel-6 Deputy Project Scientist (2022-present)
  • Jason-3 Deputy Project Scientist (2022-present)
  • Research Scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena (2018-present)
  • Caltech Postdoctoral Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA (2017)
  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA (2015-2017)
  • Engineer intern at CLS (Collecte et Localisation par Satellites), Toulouse, France (2010)
  • Hydrographer onboard a Canadian Coast Guard Ship with the Canadian Hydrographic Service, Newfoundland and Labrador (2008)

Community Service

Research Interests

  • Linkages of the ocean with the Earth water cycle, including land-sea exchanges
  • Applications of satellite salinity measurements (from the Aquarius, SMAP, and SMOS missions) to study ocean dynamics
  • Synergistic use of multi-mission, multi-variate satellite observations to study ocean variability and integrated Earth system science

Selected Awards

  • 2021 Charles Elachi Award for outstanding performance in ocean-water cycle research that expanded the frontier for applications of NASA multi-disciplinary satellite data
  • 2020 NASA Early Career Public Achievement Medal for early career achievement in pioneering research of land-sea-water cycle linkages relevant to NASA Earth Science missions
  • 2014 NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellowship - Application of multi-sensor satellite observations to study river plumes and their relationship with other oceanic biophysical properties

Selected Publications

  1. Vaze, V.P., Willis, J.K., and Fournier, S. (2023) Reshaping Earth: How the TOPEX and Jason satellites revolutionized oceanography and redefined climate science. IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceeding. Accepted
  2. Westbrook, E. E., Bingham, F. M., Fournier, S., and Hayashi, A. (2023). Matchup Strategies for Satellite Sea Surface Salinity Validation. Remote Sensing, 15(5), 1242.
  3. Fournier, S., Bingham, F.M., Hayashi, A., Brodnitz, S., Gonzalez-Haro C., Gonzalez-Gambau V., and Kuusela M. Quantification of Aquarius, SMAP, SMOS and Argo-based gridded sea surface salinity products sampling errors. (2022) Remote Sens. 2023, 15(2), 422;
  4. Hamlington, B.D., Chambers, D.P., Frederikse, T., Dangendorf, S., Fournier, S., Buzzanga, B., Nerem, R.S. Observation-based trajectory of future sea level for the coastal United States tracks near high-end model projections. Commun Earth Environ 3, 230 (2022).
  5. Dzwonkowski, B., Fournier, S., Lockridge, G., Coogan, J., Liu, Z., & Park, K. (2022). Hurricane Sally shifts the ocean thermal structure across the inner core during rapid intensification over the shelf. Journal of Physical Oceanography.
  6. Chandanpurkar H.A., Lee T., Wang X., Zhang H., Fournier S., Fenty I., Fukumori I., Menemenlis D., Piecuch C., Reager J.T., Wang O., Worden J. (2022). Influence of Nonseasonal River Discharge on Sea Surface Salinity and Height. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, e2021MS002715.
  7. Dzwonkowski, B., Fournier, S., Lockridge, G., Coogan, J., Liu, Z., and Park, K. (2021). Cascading weather events amplify the coastal thermal conditions prior to the shelf transit of Hurricane Sally (2020). Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126, e2021JC017957.
  8. Bingham, F.M., Brodnitz, S., Fournier, S., Ulfsax, K., Hayashi, A., Zhang, H. Sea Surface Salinity Subfootprint Variability from a Global High-Resolution Model. (2021) Remote Sensing. 2021, 13, 4410.
  9. Bingham F.M., Fournier S., Brodnitz S., Ulfsax K., Zhang H. Matchup Characteristics of Sea Surface Salinity Using a High-Resolution Ocean Model. (2021). Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(15):2995.
  10. Fournier S., Lee T. (2021) Seasonal and Interannual Variability of Sea Surface Salinity Near Major River Mouths of the World Ocean Inferred from Gridded Satellite and In-Situ Salinity Products. Remote Sens. 13, 728. 10.3390/rs13040728
  11. Yu L., Bingham F.M., Lee T., Dinnat E., Fournier S., Melnichenko O.V., Tang W. (2021) Revisiting the Global Patterns of Seasonal Cycle in Sea Surface Salinity, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans,, in review
  12. Dzwonkowski, B., Coogan, J., Fournier, S., Lockridge, G., Park, K., & Lee, T. (2020). Compounding impact of severe weather events fuels marine heatwave in the coastal ocean. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-10.
  13. McPhaden, M.J., T. Lee, S. Fournier, and M.A. Balmaseda, 2020: ENSO Observations, Chpt.3 in: “El Niño Southern Oscillation in a Changing Climate”, M. J. McPhaden, A. Santoso, and W. Cai, Eds. AGU Geophysical Monograph Series, ISBN: 978-1-119-54812-6. 528pp. Wiley, Hoboken NJ.
  14. Fournier S., Lee T., Wang X., Armitage T.W.K., Wang O., Fukumori I., Kwok R. Sea surface salinity as a proxy for Arctic Ocean freshwater changes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Ocean, e2020JC016110, doi: 10.1029/2020JC016110.
  15. Reul N., Grodsky S.A., Arias M., Boutin J., Catany R., Chapron B., D’Amico F., Dinnat E., Donlon C., Fore A., Fournier S., Guimbard S., Hasson A., Kolodziejczyk N., Lagerloef G., Lee T., LeVine D., Lindstrom E., Maes C., Mecklenburg S., Meissner T., Olmedo E., Sabia R., Tenerelli J., Thouvenin-Masson C., Turiel A., Vergely J.L., Vinogradova N., Wentz F., and Yueh S. (2020) Sea Surface Salinity estimates from Spaceborne L-band radiometers: an overview of the first 9 years of observations (2010-2019). Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 242, 111769,
  16. Fournier, S., Lee, T., Tang, W., Steele, M., Olmedo, E. (2019) Evaluation and Intercomparison of SMOS, Aquarius, and SMAP Sea Surface Salinity Products in the Arctic Ocean. Remote Sensing, 11(24), 3043.
  17. Fournier, S., Reager, J.T., Dzwonkowski, B., Vazquez-Cuervo, J. (2019). Statistical mapping of freshwater origin and fate signatures as land/ocean ‘regions of influence’ in the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans,
  18. Vinogradova N., Lee T., Boutin J., Drushka K., Fournier S., Sabia R., Stammer D., Bayler E., Reul N., Gordon A., Melnichenko O., Li L., Hackert E., Martin M., Kolodziejczyk N., Hasson A., Brown S., Misra S., and Lindstrom E. (2019) Satellite Salinity Observing System: Recent Discoveries and the Way Forward. Frontiers in Marine Science, Frontiers Media, 2019, 6, pp.243.
  19. Lee, T., Fournier, S., Gordon, A. L., & Sprintall, J. (2019). Maritime Continent water cycle regulates low-latitude chokepoint of global ocean circulation. Nature communications, 10(1), 2103.
  20. Olmedo, E., Gabarró, C., González-Gambau, V., Martínez, J., Ballabrera-Poy, J., Turiel, A., Portabella, M., Fournier, S. and Lee, T. (2018). Seven Years of SMOS Sea Surface Salinity at High Latitudes: Variability in Arctic and Sub-Arctic Regions. Remote Sensing, 10(11), p.1772.
  21. Vazquez-Cuervo J., Fournier S., Dzwonkowski B. (2018) Intercomparison of In-Situ and Remote Sensing Salinity Products in the Gulf of Mexico, a River-Influenced System. Remote Sens, 10(10), 1590.
  22. Dzwonkowski, B., Fournier, S., Reager, J.T., Milroy, S., Park, K., Shiller, A.M., Greer, A.T., Soto, I., Dykstra, S.L. and Sanial, V., 2018. Tracking sea surface salinity and dissolved oxygen on a river-influenced, seasonally stratified shelf, Mississippi Bight, northern Gulf of Mexico. Continental Shelf Research, 169, pp.25-33.
  23. Dzwonkowski, B., Fournier, S., Park, K., Dykstra, S.L. and Reager, J.T. (2018) Water Column Stability and the Role of Velocity Shear on a Seasonally Stratified Shelf, Mississippi Bight, Northern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. doi: 10.1029/2017JC013624
  24. Tang, W.; Yueh, S.; Yang, D.; Fore, A.; Hayashi, A.; Lee, T.; Fournier, S.; Holt, B. (2018) The Potential and Challenges of Using Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Sea Surface Salinity to Monitor Arctic Ocean Freshwater Changes. Remote Sens., 10, 869. doi: 10.3390/rs10060869
  25. Fournier S., Vialard J., Lengaigne M., Lee T., Gierach M. (2017). Modulation of the Ganges-Brahmaputra River plume by the Indian Ocean Dipole and eddies inferred from satellite observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122.
  26. Fournier, S., Vandemark, D., Gaultier, L., Lee, T., Jonsson, B., & Gierach, M. M. (2017). Interannual variation in offshore advection of Amazon-Orinoco plume waters: Observations, forcing mechanisms, and impacts. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122.
  27. Fournier, S., Reager, J. T., Lee, T., Vazquez‐Cuervo, J., David, C. H., Gierach, M. M. (2016). SMAP observes flooding from land to sea: The Texas event of 2015. Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 10,338–10,346, doi:10.1002/2016GL070821.
  28. Fournier S., Lee T., Gierach M. (2016). Seasonal and interannual variations of sea surface salinity associated with the Mississippi River plume observed by SMOS and Aquarius. Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 180, 2016, Pages 431-439, ISSN 0034-4257,
  29. Fournier S., Chapron B., Salisbury J., Vandemark D., Reul N. (2015). Comparison of spaceborne measurements of Sea Surface Salinity and colored detrital matter in the Amazon plume. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 120, 3177–3192, doi:10.1002/2014JC010109.
  30. Reul N., Quilfen Y., Charpon B., Fournier S., Kudryavtsev V., Sabia R. (2014). Multi-Sensor Observations of the Amazon Orinoco River Plume Interactions with Hurricanes. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 119, 8271–8295, doi:10.1002/2014JC010107.
  31. Reul N., Fournier S., Boutin J., Hernandez O., Maes C., Chapron B., Alory G., Quilfen Y., Tenerelli J., Morisset S., Kerr Y., Mecklenburg S., and Delwart S. (2014). Sea surface salinity observations from space with the SMOS satellite: A new means to monitor the marine branch of the water cycle. J. et al. Surv Geophys (2014) 35: 681.