Retrieving multi-temporal and large-scale thermohaline structure information of the interior of the global ocean based on surface satellite observations is important for understanding the complex and multidimensional dynamic processes within the ocean. This study proposes a new ensemble learning algorithm, extreme gradient boosting (XGBoost), for retrieving subsurface thermohaline anomalies, including the subsurface temperature anomaly (STA) and the subsurface salinity anomaly (SSA), in the upper 2000 m of the global ocean. The model combines surface satellite observations and in situ Argo data for estimation, and uses root-mean-square error (RMSE), normalized root-mean-square error (NRMSE), and R2
as accuracy evaluations. The results show that the proposed XGBoost model can easily retrieve subsurface thermohaline anomalies and outperforms the gradient boosting decision tree (GBDT) model. The XGBoost model had good performance with average R2
values of 0.69 and 0.54, and average NRMSE values of 0.035 and 0.042, for STA and SSA estimations, respectively. The thermohaline anomaly patterns presented obvious seasonal variation signals in the upper layers (the upper 500 m); however, these signals became weaker as the depth increased. The model performance fluctuated, with the best performance in October (autumn) for both STA and SSA, and the lowest accuracy occurred in January (winter) for STA and April (spring) for SSA. The STA estimation error mainly occurred in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) region in the upper ocean and the boundary of the ocean basins in the deeper ocean; meanwhile, the SSA estimation error presented a relatively even distribution. The wind speed anomalies, including the u and v components, contributed more to the XGBoost model for both STA and SSA estimations than the other surface parameters; however, its importance at deeper layers decreased and the contributions of the other parameters increased. This study provides an effective remote sensing technique for subsurface thermohaline estimations and further promotes long-term remote sensing reconstructions of internal ocean parameters.
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