Use of TIR from Space in Operational Systems

  • Helen M. Beggs


Thermal-infrared (TIR) observations from satellites provide Sea Surface Temperature (SST) observations at spatial resolutions ranging from 1 to 6 km and temporal resolutions of either twice daily (for polar-orbiters) or up to half-hourly for geostationary satellites, with nighttime RMS errors typically between 0.3 and 0.5°C compared with buoys. They are a valuable data source for input into operational systems for real-time SST composite products and gap-free analyses, feeding into ocean, weather and seasonal prediction models, and nowcasting/forecasting systems for ecosystem dynamics and management. This chapter reviews the current and future use and requirements of infrared satellite SST products in these operational systems. In synthesis, operational users’ goal requirements are that infrared satellite SST products be timely (within 1–24 h depending on application), of resolution 5–10 km over the open ocean and <1 km over coastal waters, and of accuracy ranging from 0.1 to 0.3°C depending on application. It should be acknowledged that each application has its own particular requirements and a single product for all systems is not possible. Satellite SST products that contain sufficient auxiliary information to allow multiple applications of the same product, such as the “L2P” single swath SST products provided for various TIR sensors by the Group for High Resolution SST (GHRSST), have proven to be particularly useful for a range of operational applications.


Coral Bleaching Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment Coral Reef Watch 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Very helpful comments from Dr Claire Spillman and Ms Xinmei Huang from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology are gratefully acknowledged. The HRPT AVHRR L2P data presented was provided by the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) – an initiative of the Australian Government being conducted as part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Australian Weather and Climate ResearchAustralian Bureau of MeteorologyMelbourneAustralia

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