Radiometric measurements of the sea-surface skin temperature

The competing roles of the diurnal thermocline and the cool skin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It has long been recognized that satellite-borne infrared radiometers measure radiance that is more closely related to the temperature of the skin of the ocean than the sub-surface bulk temperature, but, historically, atmospheric correction algorithm derivation and validation exercises have been conducted using bulk temperatures measured at a depth of a metre or more. A recent validation of sea-surface temperature (SST) fields derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) with skin temperature measurements of the Marine-Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (M-AERI) revealed a very low mean bias error, much smaller than was expected, given the thermal skin effect which acts to cool the surface with respect to sub-surface values by several tenths of a degree. This result does not imply the skin effect is unimportant - its effect is now well documented in many datasets - but that its effect is being partially compensated by diurnal heating effects. The evidence for this is presented and the consequences in terms of validating satellite-derived SSTs and of merging data from sensors with different satellite overpass times are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5033-5047
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Volume24
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 20 2003

Fingerprint

thermocline
skin
sea surface
Skin
Temperature distribution
skin effect
Skin effect
Satellites
radiance
sea surface temperature
temperature
Temperature
Advanced very high resolution radiometers (AVHRR)
atmospheric correction
Radiometers
interferometer
Merging
AVHRR
Temperature measurement
radiometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computers in Earth Sciences

Cite this

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abstract = "It has long been recognized that satellite-borne infrared radiometers measure radiance that is more closely related to the temperature of the skin of the ocean than the sub-surface bulk temperature, but, historically, atmospheric correction algorithm derivation and validation exercises have been conducted using bulk temperatures measured at a depth of a metre or more. A recent validation of sea-surface temperature (SST) fields derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) with skin temperature measurements of the Marine-Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (M-AERI) revealed a very low mean bias error, much smaller than was expected, given the thermal skin effect which acts to cool the surface with respect to sub-surface values by several tenths of a degree. This result does not imply the skin effect is unimportant - its effect is now well documented in many datasets - but that its effect is being partially compensated by diurnal heating effects. The evidence for this is presented and the consequences in terms of validating satellite-derived SSTs and of merging data from sensors with different satellite overpass times are discussed.",
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N2 - It has long been recognized that satellite-borne infrared radiometers measure radiance that is more closely related to the temperature of the skin of the ocean than the sub-surface bulk temperature, but, historically, atmospheric correction algorithm derivation and validation exercises have been conducted using bulk temperatures measured at a depth of a metre or more. A recent validation of sea-surface temperature (SST) fields derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) with skin temperature measurements of the Marine-Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (M-AERI) revealed a very low mean bias error, much smaller than was expected, given the thermal skin effect which acts to cool the surface with respect to sub-surface values by several tenths of a degree. This result does not imply the skin effect is unimportant - its effect is now well documented in many datasets - but that its effect is being partially compensated by diurnal heating effects. The evidence for this is presented and the consequences in terms of validating satellite-derived SSTs and of merging data from sensors with different satellite overpass times are discussed.

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