Acta Oceanologica Sinica

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 52–59 | Cite as

Comparison of TMI and AMSR-E sea surface temperatures with Argo near-surface temperatures over the global oceans

  • Xingrong Chen
  • Zenghong Liu
  • Chaohui Sun
  • Haiyan Wang


Satellite-derived sea surface temperatures (SSTs) from the tropical rainfall measuring mission (TRMM) microwave imager (TMI) and the advanced microwave scanning radiometer for the earth observing system (AMSR-E) were compared with non-pumped near-surface temperatures (NSTs) obtained from Argo profiling floats over the global oceans. Factors that might cause temperature differences were examined, including wind speed, columnar water vapor, liquid cloud water, and geographic location. The results show that both TMI and AMSR-E SSTs are highly correlated with the Argo NSTs; however, at low wind speeds, they are on average warmer than the Argo NSTs. The TMI performs slightly better than the AMSR-E at low wind speeds, whereas the TMI SST retrievals might be poorly calibrated at high wind speeds. The temperature differences indicate a warm bias of the TMI/AMSR-E when columnar water vapor is low, which can indicate that neither TMI nor AMSR-E SSTs are well calibrated at high latitudes. The SST in the Kuroshio Extension region has higher variability than in the Kuroshio region. The variability of the temperature difference between the satellite-retrieved SSTs and the Argo NSTs is lower in the Kuroshio Extension during spring. At low wind speeds, neither TMI nor AMSR-E SSTs are well calibrated, although the TMI performs better than the AMSR-E.

Key words

Argo near-surface temperature tropical rainfall measuring mission (TRMM) microwave imager advanced microwave scanning radiometer for the earth observing system sea surface temperature 


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The Argo near-surface temperature data were collected and made freely available by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). The TMI and AMSR-E data are produced by remote sensing systems and sponsored by the NASA Earth Science REASON DISCOVER Project and the AMSR-E Science Team. Data are available at


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Oceanography and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xingrong Chen
    • 1
  • Zenghong Liu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Chaohui Sun
    • 3
  • Haiyan Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Marine Environmental Forecasting CenterState Oceanic AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment DynamicsSecond Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic AdministrationHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Second Institute of OceanographyState Oceanic AdministrationHangzhouChina

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