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A 1/4°-Spatial-Resolution Daily Sea Surface Temperature Climatology Based on a Blended Satellite and in situ Analysis

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  • 1 NOAA/NESDIS/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina
  • 2 Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina State University, Asheville, North Carolina
  • 3 NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center, College Park, Maryland
  • 4 NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Climate Prediction Center, College Park, Maryland
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Abstract

A new sea surface temperature (SST) climatological mean was constructed using the first 30 years (1982–2011) of the NOAA daily optimum interpolation (OI) SST. The daily analysis blends in situ and satellite data on a ¼° (~25 km) spatial grid. Use of an analysis allows computation of a climatological value for all ocean grid points, even those without observations. Comparisons were made with a monthly, 1°-spatial-resolution climatology produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, computed primarily from the NOAA weekly OISST. Both climatologies were found to provide a good representation of major oceanic features and the annual temperature cycle. However, the daily climatology showed tighter gradients along western boundary currents and better resolution along coastlines. The two climatologies differed by over 0.6°C in high-SST-gradient regions because of resolution differences. The two climatologies also differed at very high latitudes, where the sea ice processing differed between the OISST products. In persistently cloudy areas, the new climatology was generally cooler by approximately 0.4°C, probably reflecting differences between the input satellite SSTs to the two analyses. Since the new climatology represents mean conditions at scales that match the daily analysis, it would be more appropriate for computing the corresponding daily anomalies.

Corresponding author address: Viva F. Banzon, NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. E-mail: viva.banzon@noaa.gov

Abstract

A new sea surface temperature (SST) climatological mean was constructed using the first 30 years (1982–2011) of the NOAA daily optimum interpolation (OI) SST. The daily analysis blends in situ and satellite data on a ¼° (~25 km) spatial grid. Use of an analysis allows computation of a climatological value for all ocean grid points, even those without observations. Comparisons were made with a monthly, 1°-spatial-resolution climatology produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, computed primarily from the NOAA weekly OISST. Both climatologies were found to provide a good representation of major oceanic features and the annual temperature cycle. However, the daily climatology showed tighter gradients along western boundary currents and better resolution along coastlines. The two climatologies differed by over 0.6°C in high-SST-gradient regions because of resolution differences. The two climatologies also differed at very high latitudes, where the sea ice processing differed between the OISST products. In persistently cloudy areas, the new climatology was generally cooler by approximately 0.4°C, probably reflecting differences between the input satellite SSTs to the two analyses. Since the new climatology represents mean conditions at scales that match the daily analysis, it would be more appropriate for computing the corresponding daily anomalies.

Corresponding author address: Viva F. Banzon, NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. E-mail: viva.banzon@noaa.gov
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