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Surface water temperature observations of large lakes by optimal estimation

MacCallum, S.N. and Merchant, C.J. ORCID: (2012) Surface water temperature observations of large lakes by optimal estimation. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, 38 (1). pp. 25-45. ISSN 1712-7971

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5589/m12-010


Optimal estimation (OE) and probabilistic cloud screening were developed to provide lake surface water temperature (LSWT) estimates from the series of (advanced) along-track scanning radiometers (ATSRs). Variations in physical properties such as elevation, salinity, and atmospheric conditions are accounted for through the forward modelling of observed radiances. Therefore, the OE retrieval scheme developed is generic (i.e., applicable to all lakes). LSWTs were obtained for 258 of Earth's largest lakes from ATSR-2 and AATSR imagery from 1995 to 2009. Comparison to in situ observations from several lakes yields satellite in situ differences of −0.2 ± 0.7 K for daytime and −0.1 ± 0.5 K for nighttime observations (mean ± standard deviation). This compares with −0.05 ± 0.8 K for daytime and −0.1 ± 0.9 K for nighttime observations for previous methods based on operational sea surface temperature algorithms. The new approach also increases coverage (reducing misclassification of clear sky as cloud) and exhibits greater consistency between retrievals using different channel–view combinations. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) techniques were applied to the LSWT retrievals (which contain gaps due to cloud cover) to reconstruct spatially and temporally complete time series of LSWT. The new LSWT observations and the EOF-based reconstructions offer benefits to numerical weather prediction, lake model validation, and improve our knowledge of the climatology of lakes globally. Both observations and reconstructions are publically available from

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:33709
Publisher:CSP Publishing Services

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