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An Infrared Sea Surface Temperature Autonomous Radiometer (ISAR) for Deployment aboard Volunteer Observing Ships (VOS)

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  • 1 National Centre for Ocean Forecasting, Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom
  • | 2 National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
  • | 3 Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island, New York
  • | 4 Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The infrared SST autonomous radiometer (ISAR) is a self-calibrating instrument capable of measuring in situ sea surface skin temperature (SSTskin) to an accuracy of 0.1 K. Extensive field deployments alongside two independent research radiometers measuring SSTskin using different spectral and geometric configurations show that, relatively, ISAR SSTskin has a zero bias ±0.14 K rms. The ISAR instrument has been developed for satellite SST validation and other scientific programs. The ISAR can be deployed continuously on voluntary observing ships (VOS) without any service requirement or operator intervention for periods of up to 3 months. Five ISAR instruments have been built and are in sustained use in the United States, China, and Europe. This paper describes the ISAR instrument including the special design features that enabled a single channel radiometer with a spectral bandpass of 9.6–11.5 μm to be adapted for autonomous use. The entire instrument infrared optical path is calibrated by viewing two blackbody reference cavities at different temperatures to maintain high accuracy while tolerating moderate contamination of optical components by salt deposition. During bad weather, an innovative storm shutter, triggered by a sensitive optical rain gauge, automatically seals the instrument from the external environment. Data are presented that verify the instrument calibration and functionality in such situations. A watchdog timer and auto-reboot function support automatic data logging recovery in case of power outages typically encountered on ships. An RS485 external port allows supporting instruments that are not part of the core ISAR package (e.g., a solarimeter) to be logged using the ISAR system. All data are processed by the ISAR instrument and are relayed to a host computer via the RS232 serial link as (National Electronics Manufacturers Association) NEMA-style strings allowing easy integration into many commercial onboard scientific data logging systems. In case of a communications failure, data are stored on board using a CompactFlash card that can be retrieved when the instrument is serviced. The success of the design is demonstrated using results obtained over 21 months in the English Channel and Bay of Biscay as part of a campaign to validate SSTskin observations derived from the Environmental Satellite (Envisat) Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR).

Corresponding author address: Craig Donlon, National Centre for Ocean Forecasting, Hadley Centre, Met Office, Fitzroy Road, Exeter EX1 3PB, United Kingdom. Email: craig.donlon@metoffice.gov.uk

Abstract

The infrared SST autonomous radiometer (ISAR) is a self-calibrating instrument capable of measuring in situ sea surface skin temperature (SSTskin) to an accuracy of 0.1 K. Extensive field deployments alongside two independent research radiometers measuring SSTskin using different spectral and geometric configurations show that, relatively, ISAR SSTskin has a zero bias ±0.14 K rms. The ISAR instrument has been developed for satellite SST validation and other scientific programs. The ISAR can be deployed continuously on voluntary observing ships (VOS) without any service requirement or operator intervention for periods of up to 3 months. Five ISAR instruments have been built and are in sustained use in the United States, China, and Europe. This paper describes the ISAR instrument including the special design features that enabled a single channel radiometer with a spectral bandpass of 9.6–11.5 μm to be adapted for autonomous use. The entire instrument infrared optical path is calibrated by viewing two blackbody reference cavities at different temperatures to maintain high accuracy while tolerating moderate contamination of optical components by salt deposition. During bad weather, an innovative storm shutter, triggered by a sensitive optical rain gauge, automatically seals the instrument from the external environment. Data are presented that verify the instrument calibration and functionality in such situations. A watchdog timer and auto-reboot function support automatic data logging recovery in case of power outages typically encountered on ships. An RS485 external port allows supporting instruments that are not part of the core ISAR package (e.g., a solarimeter) to be logged using the ISAR system. All data are processed by the ISAR instrument and are relayed to a host computer via the RS232 serial link as (National Electronics Manufacturers Association) NEMA-style strings allowing easy integration into many commercial onboard scientific data logging systems. In case of a communications failure, data are stored on board using a CompactFlash card that can be retrieved when the instrument is serviced. The success of the design is demonstrated using results obtained over 21 months in the English Channel and Bay of Biscay as part of a campaign to validate SSTskin observations derived from the Environmental Satellite (Envisat) Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR).

Corresponding author address: Craig Donlon, National Centre for Ocean Forecasting, Hadley Centre, Met Office, Fitzroy Road, Exeter EX1 3PB, United Kingdom. Email: craig.donlon@metoffice.gov.uk

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