The accuracy of the AATSR sea surface temperatures in the Caribbean

E. J. Noyes, P. J. Minnett, J. J. Remedios, G. K. Corlett, S. A. Good, D. T. Llewellyn-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) series of instruments provides the means to obtain accurate measurements of sea surface temperature (SST), with a target total uncertainty of ± 0.3 K, 1σ. In this paper, we present validation results from 1 year of comparisons between 1 km resolution SSTs derived from the third instrument in the series, the Advanced ATSR (AATSR), and in situ measurements obtained during 2003 from the Marine-Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (M-AERI) over the Caribbean. Our dataset consists of 99 cloud-free matchups, 25 of which are two-channel SST retrievals (daytime) and 74 three-channel SST retrievals (nighttime). Validation results for both dual- and nadir-view SSTs for these matchups are presented. We demonstrate that the dual-nadir SST measurement difference (D-N) can be used to classify matchups and attribute the likely cause of a particularly high D-N to outbreaks of Saharan dust. Under conditions of 'normal' D-N, the bias and standard deviation of the two- and three-channel dual-view retrievals is - 0.05 K and 0.26 K, and 0.02 K and 0.25 K, respectively. Dual-view SSTs obtained when the D-N is high over the Caribbean exhibit significant warm biases of 0.60 K and 0.32 K for two- and three-channel retrievals, respectively. Cool biases, with respect to the bias for 'normal' D-N, are observed in the nadir three-channel (N3) SSTs; for matchups with high D-N, the bias and standard deviation are - 0.16 K and 0.31 K, compared with 0.14 K and 0.24 K for 'normal' D-N. The distribution of the nadir two-channel retrievals is non-Gaussian and the apparent accuracy is comparatively poor, demonstrating clearly the advantages of using a sensor with dual-viewing capabilities to obtain a superior atmospheric correction, particularly when data from an additional short-wave infrared channel (e.g. at 3.7 μm) is not available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-51
Number of pages14
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 15 2006


  • Aerosol
  • Caribbean
  • Envisat
  • M-AERI
  • SST
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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