Sea surface temperature (SST) is a critical quantity in the study of both the ocean and the atmosphere as it is directly related to and often dictates the exchanges of heat, momentum, and gases between the ocean and the atmosphere. As the most widely observed variable in oceanography, SST is used in many different studies of the ocean and its coupling with the atmosphere. The history of this measurement and how this history led to today's practice of computing SST by regressing satellite infrared measurements against in situ SST observations made by drifting/moored buoys and ships are examined. The fundamental differences between satellite and in situ SST are discussed and recommendations are made for how both data streams should be handled. A comprehensive in situ validation/calibration plan is proposed for the satellite SSTs and consequences of the suggested measurements are discussed with respect to the role of SST as an integral part of the fluxes between the ocean and the atmosphere.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Dec 1, 2001
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