Arctic waters and marginal ice zones: 2. An investigation of arctic atmospheric infrared absorption for advanced very high resolution radiometer sea surface temperature estimates

Ron F. Vincent, R. F. Marsden, Peter J Minnett, J. R. Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


The derivation of sea surface temperatures (SST) from satellite radiometric data is well established in temperate latitudes. Water vapor is typically the greatest clear sky absorber of infrared (IR) energy between the emitting surface and spaceborne sensor, necessitating a corrective term for SST calculation. Algorithms developed for advanced very high resolution radiometers (AVHRR) use the difference in brightness temperatures between Channel 4 (10.3 to 11.3 μm) and Channel 5 (11.5 to 12.5 μm), or T45, to estimate the amount of IR absorption in the atmosphere. While relatively accurate in temperate latitudes, this approach is not applicable to Arctic waters, typically overestimating the SST by 2 to 3 K as a result of high T45 values that are not indicative of IR absorption by water vapor. The high T45 values in the Arctic may be attributable to atmospheric ice crystals. The attenuation of IR energy increases sharply across Channel 4 and 5 for ice crystals, the amount of which is a function of crystal size, shape and orientation. In the development of the Composite Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Algorithm in the North Water polynya (NOW), it was demonstrated that when T45 exceeded a threshold of 2 K the surface temperature could not be estimated owing to the presence of a clear sky absorptive feature. Observations from the NOW study led to the assessment that areas where T45 > 2K were covered by ice fog. This is a significant finding since these regions must be identified to achieve an accurate mapping of the surface temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberC08044
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 8 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Oceanography

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