> Oceanography > Issues > Archive > Volume 22, Number 2

2009, Oceanography 22(2):76–87, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.40

MISST: The Multi-Sensor Improved Sea Surface Temperature Project

Authors | Abstract | Full Article | Citation | References


Chelle L. Gentemann | Remote Sensing Systems, Santa Rosa, CA, USA

Peter J. Minnett | Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA

Joseph Sienkiewicz | Ocean Applications Branch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Prediction Center, Camp Springs, MD, USA

Mark DeMaria | Center for Satellite Applications and Research, NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Fort Collins, CO, USA

James Cummings | Oceanography Division, Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Monterey, CA, USA

Yi Jin | Marine Meteorology Division, NRL, Monterey, CA, USA

James D. Doyle | Marine Meteorology Division, NRL, Monterey, CA, USA

Lew Gramer | Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA

Charlie N. Barron | Oceanography Division, Stennis Space Center, NRL, MS, USA

Kenneth S. Casey | National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA, Silver Springs, MD, USA

Craig J. Donlon | International Global High-Resolution Sea Surface Temperature Project Office, Exeter, UK, and European Space Research and Technology Centre, European Space Agency, The Netherlands



Sea surface temperature (SST) measurements are vital to global weather prediction, climate change studies, fisheries management, and a wide range of other applications. Measurements are taken by several satellites carrying infrared and microwave radiometers, moored buoys, drifting buoys, and ships. Collecting all these measurements together and producing global maps of SST has been a difficult endeavor due in part to different data formats, data location and accessibility, and lack of measurement error estimates. The need for a uniform approach to SST measurements and estimation of measurement errors resulted in the formation of the international Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) High Resolution SST Pilot Project (GHRSST-PP). Projects were developed in Japan, Europe, and Australia. Simultaneously, in the United States, the Multi-sensor Improved SST (MISST) project was initiated. Five years later, the MISST project has produced satellite SST data from nine satellites in an identical format with ancillary information and estimates of measurement error. Use of these data in global SST analyses has been improved through research into modeling of the ocean surface skin layer and upper ocean diurnal heating. These data and research results have been used by several groups within MISST to produce high-resolution global maps of SSTs, which have been shown to improve tropical cyclone prediction. Additionally, the new SSTs are now used operationally for marine weather warnings and forecasts.


Full Article

Download 699 KB pdf



Gentemann, C.L., P.J. Minnett, J. Sienkiewicz, M. DeMaria, J. Cummings, Y. Jin, J.D. Doyle, L. Gramer, C.N. Barron, K.S. Casey, and C.J. Donlon. 2009. MISST: The Multi-Sensor Improved Sea Surface Temperature Project. Oceanography 22(2):76–87, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.40.



Barron, C.N., and A.B. Kara. 2006. Satellite-based daily SSTs over the global ocean. Geophysical Research Letters 33, L15603, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2006GL026356.

Castro, S.L., G.A. Wick, and W.J. Emery. 2003. Further refinements to models for the bulk-skin sea surface temperature difference. Journal of Geophysical Research 108, C12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2002JC001641.

Causey, B.D. 1998. The role of the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary in the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Initiative. Pp. 182–191 in Proceedings of the International Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management Symposium. November 1998, International Coral Reef Initiative, Cambridge, UK.

Connell, J.H. 1978. Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Science 199:1,302–1,310.

Cummings, J.A. 2005. Operational multivariate ocean data assimilation. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 131:3,583–3,604.

desJardins, M.L., K.F. Brill, and S.S. Schotz. 1991. Use of GEMPAK on UNIX workstations. Pp. 449–453 in Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Interactive Information and Processing Systems for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology. January 14–18 1991. American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA.

Donlon, C.J., I.S. Robinson, R.M. Reynolds, W. Wimmer, G. Fisher, R. Edwards, and T.J. Nightingale. 2008. An Infrared Sea Surface Temperature Radiometer (ISAR) for deployment aboard Volunteer Observing Ships (VOS). Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 25:93–113.

Evans, B., and K. Kilpatrick. 2008. MODIS SSES. Presentation at the GHRSST-IX meeting, Perros-Guirec, France, June 9–13, 2008. Available online at: http://www.ghrsst-pp.org/modules/documents/documents/STVAL_4_MODIS_BobEvans.ppt (accessed February 25, 2009).

Gentemann, C.L., and P.J. Minnett. In press. Profiles of Surface Heating (POSH): A new model of upper ocean diurnal warming. Journal of Geophysical Research.

Gentemann, C.L., and P.J. Minnett. 2008. Radiometric measurements of ocean surface thermal variability. Journal of Geophysical Research 113, C08017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2007JC004540.

Gentemann, C.L., C.J. Donlon, A. Stuart-Menteth, and F.J. Wentz. 2003. Diurnal signals in satellite sea surface temperature measurements. Geophysical Research Letters 30(3), http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2002GL016291.

Gentemann, C.L., P.J. Minnett, P. Le Borgne, and C.J. Merchant. 2008. Multi-satellite measurements of large diurnal warming events. Geophysical Research Letters 35, L22602, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008GL035730.

Hale, E.E. 1869. The Brick Moon. The Atlantic Monthly 24(141).

Jessup, A., and R. Branch. 2008. Integrated ocean skin and bulk temperature measurements using the Calibrated InfraRed In situ Measurement System (CIRIMS) and through-hull ports. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 25:579­–597.

Kara, A.B., and C.N. Barron. 2007. Fine-resolution satellite-based daily sea surface temperatures over the global ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research 112, C05041, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2006JC004021.

Kara, A.B., C.N. Barron, and T.P. Boyer. 2009. Evaluations of SST climatologies in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research 114, C02021, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008JC004909.

Kara, A.B., C.N. Barron, A.J. Wallcraft, T. Oguz, and K.S. Casey. 2008. Advantages of fine-resolution SSTs for small ocean basins: Evaluation in the Black Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research 113, C08013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2007JC004569.

Kenchington, R.A., and B.E.T. Hudson, eds. 1984. Coral Reef Management Handbook. UNESCO Regional Office for Science and Technology for Southeast Asia, Jakarta, Indonesia, 281 pp.

Kettle, H., C.J. Merchant, M.J. Filipiak, C.D. Jeffery, and C.L. Gentemann. 2008. The impact of diurnal variability in sea surface temperature on the Atlantic sea-air CO2 flux. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 8:15,825–15,853.

Manzello, D.P., R. Berkelmans, and J.C. Hendee. 2007. Coral bleaching indices and thresholds for the Florida Reef Tract, Bahamas, and St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Marine Pollution Bulletin 54(12):1,923–1,931.

Merchant, C.J., M.J. Filipiak, P. Le Borgne, H. Roquet, E. Autret, J.-F. Piollé, and S. Lavender. 2008. Diurnal warm-layer events in the western Mediterranean and European shelf seas. Geophysical Research Letters 35, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2007GL033071.

Minnett, P.J. 2003. Radiometric measurements of the sea-surface skin temperature: The competing roles of the diurnal thermocline and the cool skin. International Journal of Remote Sensing 24(24):5,033–5,047.

Minnett, P.J., R.O. Knuteson, F.A. Best, B.J. Osborne, J.A. Hanafin, and O.B. Brown. 2001. The Marine-Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (M-AERI), a high-accuracy, sea-going infrared spectroradiometer. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 18:994–1,013.

Union of Concerned Scientists, Satellite Database version 1-21-2009. Available online at: http://www.ucsdusa.org/satellite_database (accessed February 20, 2009).

Ward, B. 2006. Near-surface ocean temperature. Journal of Geophysical Research 111, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2004JC002689.

Ward, B. and M.A. Donelan. 2006. Thermometric measurements of the molecular sublayer at the air-water interface. Geophysical Research Letters 33, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2005GL024769.

Ward, B., R. Wanninkhof, P.J. Minnett, and M.J. Head. 2004. SkinDeEP: A profiling instrument for upper-decameter sea surface measurements. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 21(2):207–223.

Wick, G.A., J.C. Ohlmann, C.W. Fairall, and A. Jessup. 2005. Improved oceanic cool-skin corrections using a refined solar penetration model. Journal of Physical Oceanography 35(11):1,986–1,996, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JPO2803.1.

Williams, E., E. Prager, and D. Wilson. 2002. Research combines with public outreach on a cruise ship. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 83:590–596.