Bates, J. J., 1994: A decade of multispectral sea surface temperature observations from space. Adv. in Space Res., 14, 5-14.


The National Environmental Satellite and Data Information Service (NESDIS) of NOAA has been producing estimates of sea surface temperature (SST) using high resolution, multispectral infrared data from satellites operationally for over 10 years. This dataset is one of the largest and longest available for studies of a primary climate variable. However, the utility of this dataset for studies of climate and global change remains only marginal because of large biases during volcanic aerosol episodes. In this paper, three criteria are critically examined to assess the quality of the operational multi-spectral SST (MCSST) method. These include: 1) the basic physics of the method, 2) mean differences between satellite and in situ SSTs, and 3) an examination of the time/space variability of the satellite dataset. These criteria are fundamental in the evaluation of data derived from satellite observations for global climate monitoring.