Please join us for this GHRSST Talk with Tracy Scanlon on:

Using skin temperature increments from microwave observations in a coupled atmosphere-ocean model


  1. Tracy Scanlon, ECMWF, Reading (UK),
  2. Alan Geer, ECMWF, Reading (UK),
  3. Niels Bormann, ECMWF, Reading (UK),
  4. Philip Browne, ECMWF, Reading (UK),
  5. Tony McNally, ECMWF, Reading (UK),


ECMWF plans to move to a coupled atmosphere-ocean system in the near future, as the accuracy of the surface temperature of the ocean is critical for ensuring high quality forecasts. This presentation will summarise work to fully exploit information on the ocean surface temperature available from passive microwave imagers directly in a coupled atmosphere-ocean system.

The new RADSST method allows the incremental update of the SST using skin temperature increments derived in the atmospheric 4DVar using a sink variable approach. The utility of this method has already been demonstrated for IR clear-sky radiances. Here, we investigate its application to microwave radiances processed under all-sky conditions, which allows a greater temporal and spatial coverage than IR.

This microwave-based SST derivation benefits from the inclusion of lower frequency microwave channels around 6 and 10 GHz. Work has been ongoing to ensure the inclusion of these lower frequency channels provides the best available information, requiring the implementation of coastal, sun glint and RFI screening.

The skin temperature increments generated from these microwave imagers help to account for known deficiencies in the background skin temperature used within the ECMWF-IFS without compromising the atmospheric analysis. Furthermore, inclusion of these in the coupled system result in a better fit of the ocean analysis to in-situ observations.

About Tracy

Tracy Scanlon is a EUMETSAT fellow in microwave imagers at ECMWF. Her current work focusses on the exploitation of interface observations (skin temperature) from AMSR2 and GMI and their use in the atmosphere-ocean coupled system to improve the SST analysis. Previous work has included further exploitation of MW imagers and improvement of the associated observation operator within the ECMWF system. She holds a BSc in Physics and a MSc in Geographical Information Management and has previously work at NPL (UK) on visible range calibration and TU Wien (Austria) on the ESA CCI soil moisture product.

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