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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(7), 844; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11070844

Long-Term Variations in the Pixel-to-Pixel Variability of NOAA AVHRR SST Fields from 1982 to 2015

1
Department of Marine Technology, College of Information Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, 238 Songling Road, Qingdao 266100, China
2
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI 02882, USA
3
Qian Xuesen Laboratory of Space Technology, China Academy of Space Technology, 104 Youyi Road, Beijing 100094, China
4
Laboratory for Regional Oceanography and Numerical Modeling, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, 1 Wenhai Road, Qingdao 266237, China
5
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149-1031, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 February 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 30 March 2019 / Published: 8 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

Sea surface temperature (SST) fields obtained from the series of space-borne five-channel Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers (AVHRRs) provide the longest continuous time series of global SST available to date (1981–present). As a result, these data have been used for many studies and significant effort has been devoted to their careful calibration in an effort to provide a climate quality data record. However, little attention has been given to the local precision of the SST retrievals obtained from these instruments, which we refer to as the pixel-to-pixel (p2p) variability, a characteristic important in the ability to resolve structures such as ocean fronts characterized by small gradients in the SST field. In this study, the p2p variability is estimated for Level-2 SST fields obtained with the Pathfinder retrieval algorithm for AVHRRs on NOAA-07, 9, 11, 12 and 14-19. These estimates are stratified by year, season, day/night and along-scan/along-track. The overall variability ranges from 0.10 K to 0.21 K. For each satellite, the along-scan variability is between 10 and 20% smaller than the along-track variability (except for NOAA-16 nighttime for which it is approximately 30% smaller) and the summer and fall σ s are between 10 and 15% smaller than the winter and spring σ s. The differences between along-track and along-scan are attributed to the way in which the instrument has been calibrated. The seasonal differences result from the T 4 T 5 term in the Pathfinder retrieval algorithm. This term is shown to be a major contributor to the p2p variability and it is shown that its impact could be substantially reduced without a deleterious effect on the overall p2p σ of the resulting products by spatially averaging it as part of the retrieval process. The AVHRR/3s (NOAA-15 through 19) were found to be relatively stable with trends in the p2p variability of at most 0.015 K/decade. View Full-Text
Keywords: AVHRR SST; fronts; pixel-to-pixel variability; temporal variation AVHRR SST; fronts; pixel-to-pixel variability; temporal variation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Wu, F.; Cornillon, P.; Guan, L.; Kilpatrick, K. Long-Term Variations in the Pixel-to-Pixel Variability of NOAA AVHRR SST Fields from 1982 to 2015. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 844.

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