Improving our understanding of sea surface temperature

Typically Argo floats measure temperature to within about 5m of the ocean surface. Comparisons with drifter data show that the 5m Argo temperatures agree well with nearby (in space and time) drifter sea surface temperatures (SST). Significant differences are observed only in low-wind daytime conditions where surface heating can cause large temperature variations in a thin near-surface layer over the day. Recent developments now permit floats to measure temperatures all the way to the surface thus providing a valuable complement to traditional SST data (from satellites, drifters and ships) and helping to better elucidate the effects of temperature variability in the surface layer.


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