ISSN 2070-7401 (Print), ISSN 2411-0280 (Online)
Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa


Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa, 2016, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 125-135

Validation of operational sea surface temperature satellite monitoring products against surface drifter data for the Black Sea during the 2013-2014 cold season

N.V. Mikhailova 1 , T.M. Bayankina 1 , S.V. Motyzhev 1 , M.V. Cryl 1 , A.P. Tolstosheev 1 , E.G. Lunev 1 
1 Marine Hydrophysical Institute RAS, Sevastopol, Russia
Accepted: 26.04.2016
DOI: 10.21046/2070-7401-2016-13-3-125-135
Eight high-resolution operational satellite monitoring products of the Black Sea surface temperature: CMS_L3 (France), CNR (Italy), OSTIA (United Kingdom), CMC (Canada), DMI (Dania), GAMSSA (Australia), ODYSSEA (France), NOAA (USA) have been validated. Measurements in situ were provided by automatic surface free drifting buoys (drifters) of Iridium SVP-BTC80RTC/GPS type. Validation procedure is based on night SST measurements and during the cold season 2013-2014 to avoid errors due to diurnal sea surface temperature warming. The highest accuracy is shown by OSTIA (mean bias -0.14°C, root mean square error 0.24°C), GAMSSA (mean bias -0.05°C, root mean square error 0.28°C), CMC (mean bias 0.06°C, root mean square error 0.30°C). The uncertainties of SST retrievals depend on both retrieval algorithm and environmental conditions. Conditions that cause big errors are the Black Sea hydrological processes such as sea water freshening due to river inflows, ice formation and melting, anomalous atmospheric water vapor vertical distributions and amounts. The effectiveness of cloud detection is of great importance. The failure to recognize some cloud covers leads to admixing of colder cloud top temperatures and, consequently, negative SST bias.
Keywords: Black Sea, operational satellite monitoring, sea surface temperature, drifter, validation, remote sensing errors
Full text


  1. Bayankina T.M., Voskresenskaya E.N., Ratner Yu.B., Issledovanie mezhgodovoi izmenchivosti polya oblachnosti v Chernomorsko-Sredizemnomorskom regione po dannym sputnikovykh nablyudenii (Interannual variability of cloudiness over the Black Sea-Mediterranean region from satellite-based data), Sistemy kontrolya okruzhayushchei sredy, 2011, Iss. 16, pp. 226–235.
  2. Motyzhev S.V., Tolstosheev A.P., Lunev E.G., Sistemy operativnykh kontaktnykh nablyudenii v pribrezhnoi zone (Systems of operational contact observations in the coastal zone), Monitoring pribrezhnoi zony na Chernomorskom eksperimental'nom podsputnikovom poligone (Coastal zone monitoring on the Black Sea experimental subsatellite polygon), Sevastopol: Morskoi gidrofizicheskii institut, 2014, pp. 104–118.
  3. Motyzhev S.V., Lunev E.G., Tolstosheev A.P., Razvitie drifternykh tekhnologii i ikh vnedrenie v praktiku okeanograficheskikh nablyudenii v Chernom more i Mirovom okeane (Drifter technologies development and their implementation in practice of oceanography observations in the Black Sea and World Ocean), Ekologicheskaya bezopasnost' pribrezhnoi i shel'fovoi zon i kompleksnoe ispol'zovanie resursov shel'fa, 2011, Iss. 24, pp. 259–272.
  4. Nablyudenie za rynkom dunaiskogo sudokhodstva: itogi 2014 g. (Market Observation for Danube navigation: 2014), Budapest: Danube Commission, 2015, 24 p.
  5. Shutyaev V.P., Lebedev S.A., Parmuzin E.I., Zakharova N.B. Chuvstvitel'nost' optimal'nogo resheniya zadachi variatsionnogo usvoeniya dannykh sputnikovykh nablyudenii dlya modeli termodinamiki Baltiiskogo morya (Sensitivity of the optimal solution of a variational data assimilation problem for the Baltic Sea thermodynamics model), Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa, 2014, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 17–30.
  6. Beggs H., Zhong A., Warren G., Alves O., Brassington G., Pugh T., RAMSSA – an operational, high-resolution, multi-sensor sea surface temperature analysis over the Australian region, Aust. Meteorol. Oceanogr. J., 2011, Vol. 61, pp. 1–22.
  7. Bondar C., The Black Sea level variations and the river-sea interactions, Geo-Eco-Marina, 2007, No. 13, pp. 43–50.
  8. Brasnett B., The impact of satellite retrievals in a global sea-surface-temperature analysis, Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 2008, Vol. 134, pp. 1745–1760.
  9. Buongiorno N.B., Tronconi C., Pisano A., Santoleri R., High and Ultra-High resolution processing of satellite Sea Surface Temperature data over Southern European Seas in the framework of MyOcean project, Rem. Sens. Env., 2013, Vol. 129, pp. 1–16.
  10. Caruso C.M., Interactive real-time quality control of surface marine data at the nations centers for environmental prediction, DBCP Technical Document No.14, 1999, pp. 123–130.
  11. Castro S.L., Wick G.A., Jackson D.L., Emery W.J., Error characterization of infrared and microwave satellite sea surface temperature products for merging and analysis, J. Geophys. Res., 2008, Vol. 113, C03010.
  12. Dash P., Ignatov A., Martin M., Donlon C., Brasnett B., Reynolds R.W., Banzon V., Beggs H., Cayula J.-F., Chao Y., Grumbine R., Maturi E., Harris A., Mittaz J., Sapper J., Chin T.M., Vazquez-Cuervo J., Armstrong E.M., Gentemann C., Cummings J., Piollé J.-F., Autret E., Roberts-Jones J., Ishizaki S., Høyer J.L., Poulter D., Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST) analysis fields inter-comparisons – Part 2: Near real time web-based level 4 SST Quality Monitor (L4-SQUAM), Deep Sea Research, Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 2012, Vol. 77–80, pp. 31–43.
  13. Donlon C.J., Minnett P.J., Gentemann C., Nightingale T.J., Barton I.J., Ward B., Murray M.J., Toward improved validation of satellite sea surface skin temperature measurements for climate research, Journal of Climate, 2002, Vol. 15, pp. 353–369.
  14. Donlon C.J., Martin M., Stark J., Roberts-Jones J., Fiedler E., Wimmer W., The Operational Sea Surface Temperature and Sea Ice Analysis (OSTIA) system, Remote Sens. Environ., 2012, Vol. 116, pp. 140–158.
  15. Donlon C., Robinson I., Casey K.S., Vazquez-Cuervo J., Armstrong E., Arino O., Gentemann C., May D., LeBorgne P., Piolle J., Barton I., Beggs H., Poulter D.J.S., Merchant C., Bingham A., Heinz S., Harris A., Wick G., Emery B., Minnett P., Evans R., Llewellyn-Jones D., Mutlow C., Reynolds R.W., Kawamura H., Rayner N., The Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment High-resolution Sea Surface Temperature Pilot Project, BAMS, 2007, Vol. 88, No. 8, pp. 1197–1213.
  16. The Recommended GHRSST Data Specification (GDS) 2.0, Revision 5, 2012, 123 p., available at:
  17. Global Climate Observation System (GCOS) Report: Systematic observation requirements for satellite-based products for climate 2011 update: Supplemental details to the satellite-based component of the “Implementation plan for the global observing system for climate in support of the UNFCCC (2010 update). GCOS Rep., 2011, No. 154, 138 p.
  18. Høyer J.L., She J., Optimal interpolation of sea surface temperature for the North Sea and Baltic Sea, J. Marine Systems, 2007, Vol. 65, No. 1–4, pp. 176–189.
  19. Newman S.M., Smith J.A., Glew M.D., Rogers S.M., Taylor J.P., Temperature and salinity dependence of sea surface emissivity in the thermal infrared, Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 2005, Vol. 131, pp. 2539–2557.
  20. Operational oceanography in the 21st century. Schiller A., Brassington G.B. (eds.), Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2011, 745 p.
  21. Parmuzin E.I., Agoshkov V.I., Numerical solution of the variational assimilation problem for sea surface temperature in the model of the Black Sea dynamics, Russ. J. Numer. Anal. Math. Modelling, 2012, Vol. 27 (1), pp. 69–94.
  22. Piolle J.-F., Autret E., Arino O., Robinson I.S., Le Borgne P., Medspiration, toward the sustained delivery of satellite SST products and services over regional seas, Proceedings of the 2010 ESA Living Planet Symposium, Bergen, 2010.
  23. Reynolds R.W., Smith T.M., Liu C., Chelton D.B., Casey K.S., Schlax M.G., Daily High-Resolution-Blended Analyses for Sea Surface Temperature, Journal of Climate, 2007, Vol. 20, pp. 5473–5496.
  24. SST Error Budget: White Paper. Interim Sea Surface Temperature Science Team (ISSTST), 2010, 66 p., available at: