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Extended optimal estimation techniques for sea surface temperature from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infra-Red Imager (SEVIRI)

Merchant, C. J., Le Borgne, P., Roquet, H. and Legendre, G. (2013) Extended optimal estimation techniques for sea surface temperature from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infra-Red Imager (SEVIRI). Remote Sensing of Environment, 131. pp. 287-297. ISSN 0034-4257

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2012.12.019


Sea surface temperature (SST) can be estimated from day and night observations of the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infra-Red Imager (SEVIRI) by optimal estimation (OE). We show that exploiting the 8.7 μm channel, in addition to the “traditional” wavelengths of 10.8 and 12.0 μm, improves OE SST retrieval statistics in validation. However, the main benefit is an improvement in the sensitivity of the SST estimate to variability in true SST. In a fair, single-pixel comparison, the 3-channel OE gives better results than the SST estimation technique presently operational within the Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facility. This operational technique is to use SST retrieval coefficients, followed by a bias-correction step informed by radiative transfer simulation. However, the operational technique has an additional “atmospheric correction smoothing”, which improves its noise performance, and hitherto had no analogue within the OE framework. Here, we propose an analogue to atmospheric correction smoothing, based on the expectation that atmospheric total column water vapour has a longer spatial correlation length scale than SST features. The approach extends the observations input to the OE to include the averaged brightness temperatures (BTs) of nearby clear-sky pixels, in addition to the BTs of the pixel for which SST is being retrieved. The retrieved quantities are then the single-pixel SST and the clear-sky total column water vapour averaged over the vicinity of the pixel. This reduces the noise in the retrieved SST significantly. The robust standard deviation of the new OE SST compared to matched drifting buoys becomes 0.39 K for all data. The smoothed OE gives SST sensitivity of 98% on average. This means that diurnal temperature variability and ocean frontal gradients are more faithfully estimated, and that the influence of the prior SST used is minimal (2%). This benefit is not available using traditional atmospheric correction smoothing.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:33706
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sea surface temperature; Optimal estimation; Infra-red remote sensing; SEVIRI; Operational meteorology

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