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Comparison of the Sentinel-3A and B SLSTR Tandem Phase Data using metrological principles

Hunt, S. E., Mittaz, J. P. D., Smith, D., Polehampton, E., Yemelyanova, R., Woolliams, E. and Donlan, C. (2020) Comparison of the Sentinel-3A and B SLSTR Tandem Phase Data using metrological principles. Remote Sensing, 12 (18). 2893. ISSN 2072-4292

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/rs12182893


The Sentinel 3 mission is part of the Copernicus programme space segment and has the objective of making global operational observations of ocean and land parameters with its four onboard sensors. Two Sentinel 3 satellites are currently on orbit, providing near-daily global coverage. Sentinel 3A was launched on 16 February 2016 and Sentinel 3B on 25 April 2018. For the early part of its operation, Sentinel 3B flew in tandem with Sentinel 3A, flying 30 seconds ahead of its twin mission. This provided a unique opportunity to compare the instruments on the two satellites, and to test the per pixel uncertainty values in a metrologically-robust manner. In this work we consider the tandem-phase data from the infrared channels of one of the onboard instruments: the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer, SLSTR. A direct comparison was made of both the Level 1 radiance values and the Level 2 sea surface temperature values derived from those radiances. At Level 1 the distribution of differences between the sensor values were compared to the declared uncertainties for data gridded on to a regular latitude-longitude grid with propagated pixel uncertainties. The results showed good overall radiometric agreement between the two sensors, with mean differences of ∼0.06 K, although there was a scene-temperature dependent difference for the oblique view that was consistent with what was expected from a stray light effect observed pre-flight. We propose a means to correct for this effect based on the tandem data. Level 1 uncertainties were found to be representative of the variance of the data, expect in those channels affected by the stray light effect. The sea surface temperature results show a very small difference between the sensors that could be in part due to the fact that the Sentinel-3A retrieval coefficients were also applied to the Sentinel-3B retrieval because the Sentinel-3B coefficients are not currently available. This will lead to small errors between the S3A and S3B retrievals. The comparison also suggests that the retrieval uncertainties may need updating for two of the retrieval processes, that there are extra components of uncertainty related the quality level and the probability of cloud that should be included. Finally, a study of the quality flags assigned to sea surface temperature pixel values provided valuable insight into the origin of those quality levels and highlighted possible uncertainties in the defined quality level.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:92599


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