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Lei Shi, Ge Peng, and John J. Bates


High-latitude ocean surface air temperature and humidity derived from intersatellite-calibrated High-Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) measurements are examined. A neural network approach is used to develop retrieval algorithms. HIRS simultaneous nadir overpass observations from high latitudes are used to intercalibrate observations from different satellites. Investigation shows that if HIRS observations were not intercalibrated, then it could lead to intersatellite biases of 1°C in the air temperature and 1–2 g kg−1 in the specific humidity for high-latitude ocean surface retrievals. Using a full year of measurements from a high-latitude moored buoy site as ground truth, the instantaneous (matched within a half-hour) root-mean-square (RMS) errors of HIRS retrievals are 1.50°C for air temperature and 0.86 g kg−1 for specific humidity. Compared to a large set of operational moored and drifting buoys in both northern and southern oceans greater than 50° latitude, the retrieval instantaneous RMS errors are within 2.6°C for air temperature and 1.4 g kg−1 for specific humidity. Compared to 5 yr of International Maritime Meteorological Archive in situ data, the HIRS specific humidity retrievals show less than 0.5 g kg−1 of differences over the majority of northern high-latitude open oceans.

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Ge Peng, Lei Shi, Steve T. Stegall, Jessica L. Matthews, and Christopher W. Fairall


The accuracy of cloud-screened 2-m air temperatures derived from the intersatellite-calibrated brightness temperatures based on the High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) measurements on board the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) series is evaluated by comparing HIRS air temperatures to 1-yr quality-controlled measurements collected during the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) project (October 1997–September 1998). The mean error between collocated HIRS and SHEBA 2-m air temperature is found to be on the order of 1°C, with a slight sensitivity to spatial and temporal radii for collocation. The HIRS temperatures capture well the temporal variability of SHEBA temperatures, with cross-correlation coefficients higher than 0.93, all significant at the 99.9% confidence level. More than 87% of SHEBA temperature variance can be explained by linear regression of collocated HIRS temperatures. The analysis found a strong dependency of mean temperature errors on cloud conditions observed during SHEBA, indicating that availability of an accurate cloud mask in the region is essential to further improve the quality of HIRS near-surface air temperature products. This evaluation establishes a baseline of accuracy of HIRS temperature retrievals, providing users with information on uncertainty sources and estimates. It is a first step toward development of a new long-term 2-m air temperature product in the Arctic that utilizes intersatellite-calibrated remote sensing data from the HIRS instrument.

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