Multi-sensor Improved Sea Surface Temperature (MISST) for GODAE

Lead PI: Dr. Chelle A. Gentemann, Remote Sensing Systems

This proposal has two parts to address the two distinct aims of the current announcement. Part 1 focuses on producing an improved sea surface temperature (SST) product through the combination of observations from complementary infrared (IR) and microwave (MW) sensors. Part 2 focuses on demonstrating the impact of improved multi-sensor SST products on operational ocean models, numerical weather prediction, and tropical cyclone intensity forecasting. Close collaboration and the international coordinated exchange of SST products with error statistics with operational agencies will optimize utility of these new data streams by US and international operational agencies. Innovative techniques to blend these complementary data will be applied in operational frameworks at NOAA and Navy. This project will make a direct US contribution to the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) by working within the GODAE High-Resolution SST Pilot Project (GHRSST-PP), initiated by the international GODAE steering team, to coordinate the production of a new generation high resolution SST. Within the GHRSST-PP framework close coordination with complementary efforts in Europe and Japan have already been established. By contributing to the GHRSST-PP this team will minimize duplication of efforts, harmonize research and development activities, and maximize data access.

Project Objectives

  1. To produce multi-sensor improved SSTs and successfully assess the impact of these products, five clear project tasks have been identified:
  2. Computation of sensor-specific observational error characteristics required for optimal application and data fusion techniques.
  3. Parameterization of IR and MW retrieval differences, with consideration of diurnal warming and cool-skin effects required for multi-sensor blending.
  4. Production and dissemination of sensor-specific SST products with associated retrieval confidence, standard deviation (STD), and diurnal warming estimates to the application user community.
  5. Production and dissemination of improved multi-sensor high-resolution skin and bulk SST analyses to demonstrate and optimize utility in operational applications.
  6. Targeted impact assessment of the SST analyses on hurricane intensity forecasting, numerical data assimilation by ocean models (both national and within GODAE), numerical weather prediction, and operational ocean forecast models.

Specific activities include careful inter-calibration of different satellite sensors, involving the calculation of sensor-specific observation errors that consider environmental variables, location of observation, time of day, and sensor calibration problems; developing techniques for relating and combining measurements at different depths, spatial resolutions, and times of the day; and implementing data fusion methodologies. We propose to establish a regional data assembly center (RDAC) that will facilitate the coordination, data sharing, and joint processing as a parallel activity to GHRSST-PP RDACs in Japan and Euro

By providing this high-resolution SST data, in a pseudo-operational manner, we expect to demonstrate positive impacts in many fields including: improved hurricane intensity forecasts, better predictive capabilities in numerical weather prediction (NWP) and ocean forecasting, and consolidation of the numerous SST data products into an optimal, easily accessible new generation product shared by the US and international community. This effort will ensure that US scientists and operational activities remain at the forefront of the international ocean and weather forecasting activities.

Number of Years: 3


  • Remote Sensing Systems
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Miami
  • University of Colorado
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • NOAA/Environmental Technology Laboratory
  • Naval Research Laboratory-Monterey
  • NOAA/NESDIS/Office of Research and Applications
  • NOAA/NESDIS/National Oceanographic Data Center
  • NOAA/NESDIS/National Coastal Data Center
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory Physical Oceanographic Distributed Active Archive Center
  • Naval Oceanographic Office
  • Naval Research Laboratory-Stennis Space Center
  • NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
  • International GODAE High-Resolution SST Pilot Project Project Office

FY 2004 PI Report
FY 2005 PI Report
FY 2006 PI Report
FY 2008 PI Report

U. S. GODAE: Sustained Global Ocean State Estimation for Scientific and Practical Application

Lead PI: Dr. Carl Wunsch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This project is directed at the full exploitation of new capabilities for combining global scale ocean observations with the most powerful available ocean circulation models. The results are essential for a variety of important uses, including seasonal-to-interannual forecasting of the climate system, of numerous national contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process for assessing climate change and its impacts (including sea level change and carbon uptake), and the much firmer scientific understanding of the ocean circulation and its variability in time. The latter ultimately influences such diverse problems as national fisheries policies, national security (in its widest sense), and even energy policy.

The work is a collaboration of several institutions, an arrangement necessary given the complexity of the problem. This complexity arises because of the need to have available the latest, most sophisticated and highly efficient ocean circulation numerical models, the understanding of the rich diversity of ocean data types — suitably quality controlled — and ready access to optimization software suitable for problems of dimension many orders of magnitude larger than previously attempted. The work builds directly on what has been accomplished by the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) Consortium with NOPP support (2000-2004), and aims to extend and exploit the capability of the wider community.

The major components of the project include: (1) the production of seasonal-to-interannual forecasts, their testing and comparison; (2) the continued estimation of dynamically consistent, global, day-to-day estimates of the three-dimensional time-evolving ocean circulation at the highest feasible resolution; (3) the public distribution of all products including both the scientific and application communities; (4) continued evolution of models and methodologies so that the estimates continue to reflect the state-of-the-art; (5) a quality-controlled global data stream reflecting the great majority of the oceanic observations now available.

Number of Years: 5


  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
  • NOAA/National Centers for Environmental Prediction
  • NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc.
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

FY 2004 PI Report
FY 2006 PI Report
FY 2007 PI Report

Surface Circulation Radar Mapping in Alaskan Coastal Waters: Field Study Beaufort Sea and Cook Inlet

Lead PI: Dr. David Musgrave, University of Alaska Fairbanks

The purpose of this research is to test hypotheses with regards to the collection of surface current measurements (using High Frequency (HF) Doppler radar units) within the Alaskan Beaufort Sea OCS Sea Planning Area, central Beaufort Sea, from approximately 150 degrees to 146 degrees West Longitude and 70 degrees to 71 degrees North Latitude (approximate bathymetric range, 0-30 meter bathymetric contours), and the Lower Cook Inlet Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Planning Area between 154 degrees and 150 degrees West Longitude and 59 degrees and 60 degrees 30 minutes North Latitude.  The surface current measurements and tested hypotheses will improve the present understanding of the surface circulation in these areas under open water and mixed ice conditions.  The surface current results will also be used by MMS for validation, comparison, and boundary condition analysis of general circulation models and for oil spill risk analysis.

Number of Years: 4


  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • CODAR Ocean Sensors

FY 2004 PI Report
FY 2005 PI Report
FY 2006 PI Report