Observational needs of sea surface temperature

Research output: Contribution to journalReview – Annual report year: 2019Researchpeer-review



  • Author: O'Carroll, Anne G.

    European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, Germany

  • Author: Armstrong, Edward M.

    California Institute of Technology, United States

  • Author: Beggs, Helen

    Bureau of Meteorology Australia, Australia

  • Author: Bouali, Marouan

    Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • Author: Casey, Kenneth S.

    NOAA, United States

  • Author: Corlett, Gary K.

    European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, Germany

  • Author: Dash, Prasanjit

    NOAA, United States

  • Author: Donlon, Craig J.

    ESTEC, Netherlands

  • Author: Gentemann, Chelle L.

    Earth & Space Research, United States

  • Author: Høyer, Jacob L.

    Danish Meteorological Institute, Denmark

  • Author: Ignatov, Alexander

    NOAA, United States

  • Author: Kabobah, Kamila

    University of Energy and Natural Resource – Sunyani, Ghana

  • Author: Kachi, Misako

    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Japan

  • Author: Kurihara, Yukio

    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Japan

  • Author: Karagali, Ioanna

    Meteorology & Remote Sensing, Department of Wind Energy, Technical University of Denmark, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000, Roskilde, Denmark

  • Author: Maturi, Eileen

    NOAA, United States

  • Author: Merchant, Christopher J.

    University of Reading, United States

  • Author: Marullo, Salvatore

    Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Italy

  • Author: Minnett, Peter

    University of Miami, United States

  • Author: Pennybacker, Matthew

    NOAA, United States

  • Author: Ramakrishnan, Balaji

    Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India

  • Author: Ramsankaran, R. A. A. J.

    Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India

  • Author: Santoleri, Rosalia

    University of Miami, United States

  • Author: Sunder, Swathy

    Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India

  • Author: Picart, Stéphane Saux

    Météo-France, France

  • Author: Vázquez-Cuervo, Jorge

    California Institute of Technology, United States

  • Author: Wimmer, Werenfrid

    University of Southampton, United Kingdom

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Sea surface temperature (SST) is a fundamental physical variable for understanding, quantifying and predicting complex interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere. Such processes determine how heat from the sun is redistributed across the global oceans, directly impacting large- and small-scale weather and climate patterns. The provision of daily maps of global SST for operational systems, climate modelling and the broader scientific community is now a mature and sustained service coordinated by the Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST) and the CEOS SST Virtual Constellation (CEOS SST-VC). Data streams are shared, indexed, processed, quality controlled, analyzed, and documented within a Regional/Global Task Sharing (R/GTS) framework, which is implemented internationally in a distributed manner. Products rely on a combination of low-Earth orbit infrared and microwave satellite imagery, geostationary orbit infrared satellite imagery, and in situ data from moored and drifting buoys, Argo floats, and a suite of independent, fully characterized and traceable in situ measurements for product validation (Fiducial Reference Measurements, FRM). Research and development continues to tackle problems such as instrument calibration, algorithm development, diurnal variability, derivation of high-quality skin and depth temperatures, and areas of specific interest such as the high latitudes and coastal areas. In this white paper, we review progress versus the challenges we set out 10 years ago in a previous paper, highlight remaining and new research and development challenges for the next 10 years (such as the need for sustained continuity of passive microwave SST using a 6.9 GHz channel), and conclude with needs to achieve an integrated global high-resolution SST observing system, with focus on satellite observations exploited in conjunction with in situ SSTs. The paper directly relates to the theme of Data Information Systems and also contributes to Ocean Observing Governance and Ocean Technology and Networks within the OceanObs2019 objectives. Applications of SST contribute to all the seven societal benefits, covering Discovery; Ecosystem Health & Biodiversity; Climate Variability & Change; Water, Food, & Energy Security; Pollution & Human Health; Hazards and Maritime Safety; and the Blue Economy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number420
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • Climate data records (CDR), FRM, GHRSST, Observations, Operational oceanography, Satellite, Sea surface temperature (SST), In situ

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ID: 191602781