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Representation of climatically important current boundaries in satellite datasets

Simon Good(1) , Gary Corlett(1) , and David Llewellyn-Jones(1)

(1) University of Leicester, Space Research Centre, Leicester LE1 7RH, United Kingdom


Satellite measurements of sea surface temperature (SST) have many applications for the user community, including providing global datasets for assimilation into both operational and research models of oceanic behaviour. However, the different wavelengths and retrieval methodologies employed for individual instruments means that differing SSTs can be observed. It is necessary to understand these differences if the datasets are to be used routinely in models.

The boundaries of currents can provide particularly testing conditions for satellite instruments due to the proliferation of clouds and high SST gradients in these regions. The high spatial resolution and retrieval accuracy of the Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) instrument makes it ideal for resolving fine details, but its coverage is limited by clouds. Other instruments, such as the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) are not limited by clouds but have lower spatial resolution. We demonstrate that the representation of currents can vary considerably between these and other datasets, by showing as examples images of the Somali upwelling, the Gulf Stream and the Kuroshio Current, all climatically important processes.


Workshop poster