THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
CEOS EO HANDBOOK – MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS
Measurements > Ocean >
Surface temperature (ocean) >
Sea surface temperature


Measurement Definition*: Temperature of the sea water at the depth of 2 m (“bulk” temperature). In effect, the observation is more significant of the upper level (< 1 mm, “skin” temperature) if measured in IR, closer to the bulk temperature if measured in MW -Physical unit: [ K ] - Accuracy unit: [ K ].
InstrumentStatus/
Accuracy
Instrument DescriptionMeasurement TechnologyTimeline
ABI
Advanced Baseline Imager
Operational
Detects clouds, cloud properties, water vapour, land and sea surface temperatures, dust, aerosols, volcanic ash, fires, total ozone, snow and ice cover, vegetation index.n/a
Advanced MI
Advanced Meteorological Imager
Operational
Continuous monitoring capability for the near real-time generation of high-resolution meteorological products and long-term change analysis of sea surface temperature and cloud coverage.n/a
AGRI
Advanced Geosynchronous Radiation Imager
Operational
A multiple channel radiation imager, one of the primary instruments aboard FY-4. Technically featured by a precisely designed two-mirror structure, capable of accurate and flexible sensing in two dimensions, and minute-level fast sector scanning. Frequent Earth imaging over 14 bands with off-axis three reflections of the primary optic system. On-board black body available for IR calibrations at very short time intervals.n/a
AHI
Advanced Himawari Imager
Operational
Measures cloud cover, cloud motion, cloud height, cloud properties, water vapour, rainfalll, sea surface temperatures and Earth radiation, dust, aerosols, volcanic ash, fires, snow and ice cover.n/a
AIRS
Atmospheric Infra-red Sounder
Operational
High spectral resolution measurement of temperature and humidity profiles in the atmosphere. Long-wave Earth surface emissivity. Cloud diagnostics. Trace gas profiles. Surface temperatures.Medium-resolution IR spectrometer
AMSR-2
Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer -2
Operational
+/-0.58 degrees C
Measurements of water vapour, cloud liquid water, precipitation, winds, sea surface temperature, sea ice concentration, snow cover, soil moisture.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
AVHRR/3
Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer/3
Operational
Measurements of land and sea surface temperature, cloud cover, snow and ice cover, soil moisture and vegetation indices. Data also used for volcanic eruption monitoring.n/a
COCTS
China Ocean Colour & Temperature Scanner
Operational
Ocean chlorophyll, ocean yellow substance absorbance, Sea-ice surface temperature.n/a
GMI
GPM Microwave Imager
Operational
Measures rainfall rates over oceans and land, combined rainfall structure and surface rainfall rates with associated latent heating. Used to produce three hour, daily, and monthly total rainfall maps over oceans and land.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
IASI
Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer
Operational
Measures tropospheric moisture and temperature, column integrated contents of ozone, carbon monoxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other minor gases which affect tropospheric chemistry. Also measures sea surface and land temperature.Medium-resolution IR spectrometer
IKFS-2
IR-Fourier spectrometer
Operational
Atmospheric temperature/humidity profiles, data on cloud parameters, water vapour & ozone column amounts, surface temperature.n/a
Imager
Imager
Operational
Measures cloud cover, atmospheric radiance, winds, atmospheric stability, rainfall estimates. Used to provide severe storm warnings/ monitoring day and night (type, amount, storm features).n/a
MI
Meteorological Imager
Operational
Continuous monitoring capability for the near real-time generation of high-resolution meteorological products and long-term change analysis of sea surface temperature and cloud coverage.n/a
MODIS
MODerate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
Operational
Data on biological and physical processes on the surface of the Earth and in the lower atmosphere, and on global dynamics. Surface temperatures of land and ocean, chlorophyll fluorescence, land cover measurements, cloud cover (day and night).n/a
MSU-GS
Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Operational
Measurements of cloud cover, cloud top height, precipitation, cloud motion, albedo, vegetation, convection, air mass analysis, tropopause monitoring, stability monitoring, total ozone and surface temperature, fire detection.n/a
MSU-MR
Low-resolution multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Operational
Parameters of clouds, snow, ice and land cover, vegetation, surface temperature, fire detection.n/a
MTVZA-GY
Scanning microwave imager-sounder
Operational
Atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles, precipitation, sea-level wind speed, snow/ice coverage.n/a
MWRI
Micro-Wave Radiation Imager
Operational
All weather observations of precipitation, cloud features, vegetation, soil moisture sea ice, etc.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
RAD
Microwave radiometer
Operational
Ocean wind and temperature measurements.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
SEVIRI
Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infra-Red Imager
Operational
Measurements of cloud cover, cloud top height, precipitation, cloud motion, vegetation, radiation fluxes, convection, air mass analysis, cirrus cloud discrimination, tropopause monitoring, stability monitoring, total ozone and sea surface temperature.n/a
SGLI
Second-generation Global Imager
Operational
+/-0.8 degrees Kelvin
Medium resolution multi-spectral imaging of land, ocean and atmosphere. SGLI-VNR is an optical sensor capable of multi-channel nadir observation at wavelengths from near-UV to NIR and forward or backward polarization observation at red and near infrared wavelengths (Push-broom scanning). SGLI-IRS is an optical sensor capable of multi-channel nadir observation at wavelengths from SWIR to TIR wavelengths (Cross-track scanning).n/a
SLSTR
Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer
Operational
Marine and land services.n/a
Sounder
Sounder
Operational
Atmospheric soundings and data on atmospheric stability and thermal gradient winds.Narrow-band channel IR radiometer
Sounder (INSAT)
IR Sounder
Operational
Atmospheric soundings, atmospheric stability, thermal gradient winds.Narrow-band channel IR radiometer
VIIRS
Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite
Operational
Global observations of land, ocean, and atmosphere parameters: cloud/weather imagery, sea-surface temperature, ocean colour, land surface vegetation indices.n/a
VIRR
Multispectral Visible and Infra-red Scan Radiometer (10 channels)
Operational
Multispectral Visible and Infra-red Scan Radiometer.n/a
VISSR-2
Stretched Visible and Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer-2
Operational
Meteorological.n/a
WindSat
WindSat
Operational
Demonstration of sea surface wind vector observation by polarimetric passive radiometryMulti-purpose imaging MW radiometer
FCI
Flexible Combined Imager
Being developed
Measurements of cloud cover, cloud top height, precipitation, cloud motion, vegetation, radiation fluxes, convection, air mass analysis, cirrus cloud discrimination, tropopause monitoring, stability monitoring, total ozone and sea surface temperature.n/a
METimage
Multi Spectral Imager
Being developed
Operational multi spectral imager for meteorological EPS-SG VIS/IR Imaging Mission (VII): imagery data for global and regional NWP, NWC, and climate monitoringn/a
MWI
Microwave Imager
Being developed
Measure cloud liquid water, ice cloud content, precipitation, total column water vapour, snow parameters, sea ice parametersMulti-purpose imaging MW radiometer
SSTM-1 (Oceansat-3)
Sea Surface Temperature Monitor-1
Being developed
TIR and OCM combination will support joint analysis for operational potential fishing zones.n/a
GSA (2)
Hyperspectral imaging equipment
Approved
Land surface monitoringn/a
MSU-GS/VE
Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Approved
Operational metrology, hydrology, climate monitoring and environmental monitoringn/a
MVIRS
Moderate Resolution Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectroradiometer
Approved
Measures surface temperature and cloud and ice cover. Used for snow and flood monitoring and surface temperature.n/a
TIR
Two-band Thermal Infrared Camera
Approved
Sea surface temperature measurementn/a
Advanced MSU-MR
Advanced Multispectral scanning imager-radiometer
Proposed
Parameters of clouds, snow, ice and land cover, vegetation, surface temperature, fire detection.n/a
AMSR-3
Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer -3
Proposed
+/-0.58 degrees C
Measurements of water vapour, cloud liquid water, precipitation, winds, sea surface temperature, sea ice concentration, snow cover, soil moisture. Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
GeoSTAR
MW Array Spectrometer (PATH)
Proposed
High frequency, all-weather temperature and humidity soundings for weather forecasting and SST.n/a
IKFS-3
Advanced Fourier spectrometer
Proposed
Atmospheric temperature/humidity profiles, data on cloud parameters, water vapour & ozone column amounts, surface temperature.n/a
MTVZA-GY-MP
Advanced Scanning microwave imager-sounder
Proposed
Atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles, precipitation, sea-level wind speed, snow/ice coverage.n/a
AMSR-E
Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS
No longer operational
+/-0.5 degrees C
Measurements of water vapour, cloud liquid water, precipitation, winds, sea surface temperature, sea ice concentration, snow cover and soil moisture. Instrument stopped functioning 4th October 2011.Multi-purpose imaging MW radiometer
HIRS/4
High Resolution Infra-red Sounder/4
No longer operational
Atmospheric temperature profiles and data on cloud parameters, humidity soundings, water vapour, total ozone content, and surface temperatures. Same as HIRS/3, with 10 km IFOV.Narrow-band channel IR radiometer
IRAS
InfraRed Atmospheric Sounder
No longer operational
Atmospheric sounding for weather forecasting.Narrow-band channel IR radiometer
* Description adapted from WMO.
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