Sea surface temperature is very important in weather and ocean forecasting, and studying the ocean, atmosphere and climate system. Measuring the sea surface skin temperature (SSTskin) with infrared radiometers onboard earth observation satellites and shipboard instruments is a mature subject spanning several decades. Reanalysis model output SSTskin, such as from the newly released ERA5, is very widely used and has been applied for monitoring climate change, weather prediction research, and other commercial applications. The ERA5 output SSTskin data must be rigorously evaluated to meet the stringent accuracy requirements for climate research. This study aims to estimate the accuracy of the ERA5 SSTskin fields and provide an associated error estimate by using measurements from accurate shipboard infrared radiometers: the Marine-Atmosphere Emitted Radiance Interferometers (M-AERIs). Overall, the ERA5 SSTskin has high correlation with ship-based radiometric measurements, with an average difference of~0.2 K with a Pearson correlation coefficient (R) of 0.993. Parts of the discrepancies are related to dust aerosols and variability in air-sea temperature differences. The downward radiative flux due to dust aerosols leads to significant SSTskin differences for ERA5. The SSTskin differences are greater with the large, positive air-sea temperature differences. This study provides suggestions for the applicability of ERA5 SSTskin fields in a selection of research applications.
- Sea surface skin temperature
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)