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SST Error Budget - White Paper

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-10-10, 21:23 authored by Peter Cornillon, Sandra C. Castro, Chelle Gentemann, Andy Jessup, Alexey Kaplan, Eric Lindstrom, Eileen Maturi, Peter Minnett, Dick Reynolds

A number of federal agencies fund research related to the development and use of satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) data products. Furthermore, within each agency there may be more than one program addressing SST issues and these programs are often unrelated. In an effort to coordinate NASA funded projects that relate to satellite-derived SST products, the

NASA Physical Oceanography Program Manager, Eric Lindstrom, formed an Interim Sea Surface Temperature Science Team (ISSTST) consisting primarily of those in the U.S. research

community using or developing SST products, and he funded a

workshop to characterize the uncertainty budget of satellite-derived SSTs. The workshop was attended by 42 ISSTST members and 4 observers . Participants at the workshop were divided into 6 groups:

1. The physical basis of SST measurements,

2. Radiative transfer modeling and SST retrieval algorithm development,

3. Calibration, instrument characterization, and measurement validation: pre-launch and


4. Data merging and gridding,

5. The Climate Record: reprocessing, data access, and stability of climate record, and

6. Applications of SST measurements.

Each of these groups produced a report (available at:

Workshop.html) summarizing their work. These form the basis for this document.

The workshop and subsequent collaborative work of the ISSTST resulted in a white paper characterizing the SST error budget and a suite of recommendations designed to reduce the contributions of a number of categories to the error of SST retrievals from satellite-borne sensors.