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A reprocessing for climate of sea surface temperature from the Along-Track Scanning Radiometers: initial validation, accounting for skin and diurnal variability

Embury, O. ORCID:, Merchant, C.J. ORCID: and Corlett, G.K. (2012) A reprocessing for climate of sea surface temperature from the Along-Track Scanning Radiometers: initial validation, accounting for skin and diurnal variability. Remote Sensing of Environment, 116. pp. 62-78. ISSN 0034-4257

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2011.02.028


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 ~ 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 D2: 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 ~ 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, D2: 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

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:33713
Uncontrolled Keywords:ATSR; Sea surface temperature; SST; Validation
Additional Information:Special Issue: Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer(AATSR)

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