Comparisons of shipboard infrared sea surface skin temperature measurements from the CIRIMS and the M-AERI

R. Branch, Andrew T. Jessup, P. J. Minnett, E. L. Key

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Extensive comparisons are made of the infrared sea surface skin temperature Tskin measured by the Calibrated Infrared In situ Measurement System (CIRIMS) and the Marine-Atmospheric Emitted Radiatice Interferometer (M-AERI). Data were collected from four separate deployments on the NOAA research vessel (R/V) Ronald H. Brown and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Polar Sea over a wide range of latitudes and environmental conditions. The deployment time totaled roughly 6 months over a 4-yr period and resulted in over 7000 comparison values. The mean offset between the two instruments showed that CIRIMS consistently measured a lower temperature than the M-AFRI, but by less than 0.10°C. This mean offset was found to be dependent upon sky condition, wind speed, and ship roll, which implies the offset is likely due to uncertainty in the emissivity. The CIRIMS Tskin was recomputed using two alterative emissivity values, one based on emissivity measured by the M-AERI and the other based on a wind-speed-dependent model. In both cases, the recomputation of the CIRIMS Tskin significantly reduced the mean offset. The Overall standard deviation between the M-AERI and CIRIMS Tskin was 0.16°C, did not significantly depend on environmental conditions, and was within the expected values of instrument and comparison uncertainties. These comparisons demonstrate the success of CIRIMS in achieving good agreement with the M-AERI over a wide range of conditions. The results also highlight the importance of the sea surface emissivity when measuring the ocean surface skin temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-606
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Atmospheric Science


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