Thermal profiling of the sea surface skin layer using FTIR measurements

Jennifer A. Hanafin, Peter J. Minnett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


Sea surface spectral emissivity and the depth of the thermal skin boundary layer were determined using high spectral resolution measurements of the sea surface and the atmosphere taken in the field measurements by the Marine-Atmosphere Emitted Radiance Interferometer. In order to determine the sea surface emissivity, the effective incidence angle was found by minimizing the variance in the brightness temperature spectrum retrieved from the corrected upwelling radiance spectrum. Certain wavelength regions have different absorption characteristics, allowing the temperature at different levels to be retrieved from different spectral regions. In this way, the temperature gradient of the thermal boundary layer was determined. The depth of the skin layer was then calculated by determining the depth at which the thermometrically measured bulk temperature intersects this gradient. At low wind speeds, the skin layer can be up to 0.2mm deep, getting shallower with increased wind speed and becoming very shallow (0.01-0.07mm) above wind speeds of 8ms-1. These results are encouraging for application of this method to determine air-sea heat and gas fluxes in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGas Transfer at Water Surfaces, 2002
EditorsW.M. Drennan, E.S. Saltzman, M.A. Donelan, R. Wanninkhof
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781118668634
ISBN (Print)9780875909868
StatePublished - 2001

Publication series

NameGeophysical Monograph Series
ISSN (Print)0065-8448
ISSN (Electronic)2328-8779

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics


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