Sea Surface Temperature Sensors for Australian Vessels
Remotely sensed sea surface temperature (SST) data are important inputs to ocean, numerical weather prediction, seasonal and climate models. In order to improve validation of satellite SST and ocean models in the Australian region, there is a need for high quality in situ SST observations with greater timeliness, spatial and temporal coverage than is currently available from moored and drifting buoys. Prior to 2008, SST observations from ships in the Australian region, available via the Global Telecommunications System (GTS), were either of significantly poorer accuracy than those available from buoys or difficult to access in a timely manner. Commencing in 2008, as part of the IMOS project, new streams of high quality, near real-time (within 24 hours), SST observations from 14 vessels in the Australian region have become available on the Global Telecommunications System (GTS) and the IMOS data portal. The amount of IMOS ship SST data on the GTS now significantly exceeds that available from other vessels in the Australian region. By the end of 2012 new SST data streams from a further three Australian vessels will be added to the project.
Comparisons with SST observations from four satellites indicate that 13 out of the 14 IMOS ship SST data streams provide SST data with comparable errors to those available from drifting buoys. It was therefore concluded that that these IMOS ship SST data will benefit the validation and bias-correction of satellite SST products and analyses, and validation of ocean models, over regions lacking in buoy observations such as coastal areas and the Southern Ocean. For further information see http://imos.org.au/soopdoc.html.