Multi sensor validation and error characteristics of Arctic satellite sea surface temperature observations

Jacob L. Høyer, Ioanna Karagali, Rasmus Tonbo, Gorm Dybkjær

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Six of the operational global satellite sea surface temperature products from infrared and microwave sensors are validated in a consistent way in waters north of 60° N. The 15-month validation with drifting buoy in situ observations shows that data from the Advanced Along-Tracking Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) on-board the ENVISAT satellite and NAVOCEANO data from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) on-board the NOAA 18 satellite are superior in terms of bias and standard deviation. The observations from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR-E) on-board the Aqua satellite have superior coverage due to the microwaves' ability to penetrate cloud cover.

    The performance of the different satellite products is examined for variation with season, water temperature, solar elevation angle, and proximity to the marginal ice zone. The validation results identify errors in the satellite products related to observation techniques, data processing and cloud masking. Temporal and spatial error scales are derived for all satellite products using the satellite versus in situ match-up dataset. Temporal error scales are typically between 1 and 2 days and the characteristic spatial error scales between 300 and 500 km. The error cross correlations between the different satellite products reveal that the products from the infrared sensors generally show significant error correlation, whereas the errors of the microwave AMSR-E product have a low correlation with all the products from the infrared sensors
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
    Pages (from-to)335-346
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Arctic
    • SST
    • Validation
    • Error characteristics
    • Marginal ice zone


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