Buckets of SST data
Elizabeth Kent and David Berry have been awarded a £1.3m NERC grant to develop a new sea surface temperature (SST) dataset going back to 1850.
Early observations of SST were made from sailing ships using water samples collected in wooden buckets. The modern SST observing system combines observations from satellites and drifting buoys with a relatively small contribution from ship-based observations. The challenge is to combine these observation types to give a homogeneous record of SST since 1850. In existing historical SST datasets from the Met Office and NOAA the bias adjustments applied to produce a homogeneous SST record have depended on observations of marine air temperature.
The grant, ‘Historical Ocean Surface Temperatures: Accuracy, Characterisation and Evaluation’ (HOSTACE), funds a joint project between NOC and the University of Edinburgh. HOSTACE aims to produce an SST dataset that is independent of air temperature, and will focus on providing improved estimates of uncertainty in the dataset.
HOSTACE also includes scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre, Imperial College, NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory as project partners.