Satellite Sensed Skin Sea Surface Temperature
- Donlon, Craig
- May 22, 1997.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- Quantitative predictions of spatial and temporal changes the global climate rely heavily on the use of computer models. Unfortunately, such models cannot provide the basis for climate prediction because key physical processes are inadequately treated. Consequently, fine tuning procedures are often used to optimize the fit between model output and observational data and the validation of climate models using observations is essential if model based predictions of climate change are to be treated with any degree of confidence. Satellite Sea Surface Temperature (SST) observations provide high spatial and temporal resolution data which is extremely well suited to the initialization, definition of boundary conditions and, validation of climate models. In the case of coupled ocean-atmosphere models, the SST (or more correctly the 'Skin' SST (SSST)) is a fundamental diagnostic variable to consider in the validation process. Daily global SST maps derived from satellite sensors also provide adequate data for the detection of global patterns of change which, unlike any other SST data set, repeatedly extend into the southern hemisphere extra-tropical regions. Such data are essential to the success of the spatial 'fingerprint' technique, which seeks to establish a north-south asymmetry where warming is suppressed in the high latitude Southern Ocean. Some estimates suggest that there is a greater than 80% chance of directly detecting significant change (97.5 % confidence level) after 10-12 years of consistent global observations of mean sea surface temperature. However, these latter statements should be qualified with the assumption that a negligible drift in the observing system exists and that biases between individual instruments required to derive a long term data set are small. Given that current estimates for the magnitude of global warming of 0.015 K yr(sup -1) - 0.025 K yr(sup -1), satellite SST data sets need to be both accurate and stable if such a warming trend is to be confidently detected. Some of these activities are focussed to develop and deploy instrumentation suitable for the collection of precise in situ measurements of the SSST which can be used to improve the accuracy of satellite measurements, while others develop techniques to generate improved global analyses of sea surface temperature using historical data.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19970018037.
Accession ID: 97N20118.
- No Copyright.
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