Half a century of satellite remote sensing of sea-surface temperature

P. J. Minnett, A. Alvera-Azcárate, T. M. Chin, G. K. Corlett, C. L. Gentemann, I. Karagali, X. Li, A. Marsouin, S. Marullo, E. Maturi, R. Santoleri, S. Saux Picart, M. Steele, J. Vazquez-Cuervo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Sea-surface temperature (SST) was one of the first ocean variables to be studied from earth observation satellites. Pioneering images from infrared scanning radiometers revealed the complexity of the surface temperature fields, but these were derived from radiance measurements at orbital heights and included the effects of the intervening atmosphere. Corrections for the effects of the atmosphere to make quantitative estimates of the SST became possible when radiometers with multiple infrared channels were deployed in 1979. At the same time, imaging microwave radiometers with SST capabilities were also flown. Since then, SST has been derived from infrared and microwave radiometers on polar orbiting satellites and from infrared radiometers on geostationary spacecraft. As the performances of satellite radiometers and SST retrieval algorithms improved, accurate, global, high resolution, frequently sampled SST fields became fundamental to many research and operational activities. Here we provide an overview of the physics of the derivation of SST and the history of the development of satellite instruments over half a century. As demonstrated accuracies increased, they stimulated scientific research into the oceans, the coupled ocean-atmosphere system and the climate. We provide brief overviews of the development of some applications, including the feasibility of generating Climate Data Records. We summarize the important role of the Group for High Resolution SST (GHRSST) in providing a forum for scientists and operational practitioners to discuss problems and results, and to help coordinate activities world-wide, including alignment of data formatting and protocols and research. The challenges of burgeoning data volumes, data distribution and analysis have benefited from simultaneous progress in computing power, high capacity storage, and communications over the Internet, so we summarize the development and current capabilities of data archives. We conclude with an outlook of developments anticipated in the next decade or so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111366
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Volume233
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

surface temperature
remote sensing
Remote sensing
sea surface temperature
Satellites
Radiometers
radiometers
radiometer
Temperature
Infrared radiation
microwave radiometer
oceans
Temperature distribution
Microwaves
atmosphere-ocean system
climate
atmosphere
ocean
radiance
physics

Keywords

  • Fifty year review
  • Sea surface temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences

Cite this

Minnett, P. J., Alvera-Azcárate, A., Chin, T. M., Corlett, G. K., Gentemann, C. L., Karagali, I., ... Vazquez-Cuervo, J. (2019). Half a century of satellite remote sensing of sea-surface temperature. Remote Sensing of Environment, 233, [111366]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2019.111366

Half a century of satellite remote sensing of sea-surface temperature. / Minnett, P. J.; Alvera-Azcárate, A.; Chin, T. M.; Corlett, G. K.; Gentemann, C. L.; Karagali, I.; Li, X.; Marsouin, A.; Marullo, S.; Maturi, E.; Santoleri, R.; Saux Picart, S.; Steele, M.; Vazquez-Cuervo, J.

In: Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 233, 111366, 01.11.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Minnett, PJ, Alvera-Azcárate, A, Chin, TM, Corlett, GK, Gentemann, CL, Karagali, I, Li, X, Marsouin, A, Marullo, S, Maturi, E, Santoleri, R, Saux Picart, S, Steele, M & Vazquez-Cuervo, J 2019, 'Half a century of satellite remote sensing of sea-surface temperature', Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 233, 111366. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2019.111366
Minnett PJ, Alvera-Azcárate A, Chin TM, Corlett GK, Gentemann CL, Karagali I et al. Half a century of satellite remote sensing of sea-surface temperature. Remote Sensing of Environment. 2019 Nov 1;233. 111366. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2019.111366
Minnett, P. J. ; Alvera-Azcárate, A. ; Chin, T. M. ; Corlett, G. K. ; Gentemann, C. L. ; Karagali, I. ; Li, X. ; Marsouin, A. ; Marullo, S. ; Maturi, E. ; Santoleri, R. ; Saux Picart, S. ; Steele, M. ; Vazquez-Cuervo, J. / Half a century of satellite remote sensing of sea-surface temperature. In: Remote Sensing of Environment. 2019 ; Vol. 233.
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