A reprocessing for climate of sea surface temperature from the along-track scanning radiometers: Initial validation, accounting for skin and diurnal variability effects

Owen Embury, Christopher J. Merchant, Gary K. Corlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An initial validation of the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) Reprocessing for Climate (ARC) retrievals of sea surface temperature (SST) is presented. ATSR-2 and Advanced ATSR (AATSR) SST estimates are compared to drifting buoy and moored buoy observations over the period 1995 to 2008. The primary ATSR estimates are of skin SST, whereas buoys measure SST below the surface. Adjustment is therefore made for the skin effect, for diurnal stratification and for differences in buoy-satellite observation time. With such adjustments, satellite-in situ differences are consistent between day and night within similar to 0.01 K. Satellite-in situ differences are correlated with differences in observation time, because of the diurnal warming and cooling of the ocean. The data are used to verify the average behaviour of physical and empirical models of the warming/cooling rates.

Systematic differences between adjusted AATSR and in-situ SSTs against latitude, total column water vapour (TCWV), and wind speed are less than 0.1 K, for all except the most extreme cases (TCWV <5 kg m(-2), TCWV >60 kg m(-2)). For all types of retrieval except the nadir-only two-channel (N2), regional biases are less than 0.1 K for 80% of the ocean. Global comparison against drifting buoys shows night time dual-view two-channel (D2) SSTs are warm by 0.06 +/- 0.23 K and dual-view three-channel (D3) SSTs are warm by 0.06 +/- 0.21 K (day-time 02: 0.07 +/- 0.23 K). Nadir-only results are N2: 0.03 +/- 0.33 K and N3: 0.03 +/- 0.19 K showing the improved inter-algorithm consistency to similar to 0.02 K. This represents a marked improvement from the existing operational retrieval algorithms for which inter-algorithm inconsistency is >0.5 K. Comparison against tropical moored buoys, which are more accurate than drifting buoys, gives lower error estimates (N3: 0.02 +/- 0.13 K, 02: 0.03 +/- 0.18 K). Comparable results are obtained for ATSR-2, except that the ATSR-2 SSTs are around 0.1 K warm compared to AATSR. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-78
Number of pages17
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Volume116
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2012

Keywords

  • ATSR
  • Sea surface temperature
  • SST
  • Validation
  • SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS
  • RADIATIVE-TRANSFER
  • INFRARED IMAGERY
  • RETRIEVALS
  • OCEAN
  • AATSR
  • ELIMINATION
  • ACCURACY
  • SPACE
  • MODEL

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