Sea surface temperature of the Bay of Bengal derived from the TRMM microwave imager

G. S. Bhat, Gabriel Andres Vecchi, S. Gadgil

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54 Scopus citations


The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) with the capability of measuring sea surface temperature (SST) in the presence of clouds, has been providing an unprecedented view of tropical basin-scale SST variability. In this paper, an assessment of the accuracy of the SST derived from TMI over the Bay of Bengal using in situ data collected from moored buoys and research ships, is presented. The authors find that TMI captures the evolution of the SST of the bay on seaonal time scales with reasonable accuracy. The mean difference between the SST from TMI and buoys is less than 0.1°C, and the rms difference is about 0.6°C. The time scales of the intraseasonal variation of the TMI SST are realistic. However, the amplitude of the SST variation on the intraseasonal scale is overestimated by a factor of about 1.3 when compared to buoy data. It is observed that the SST derived from TMI tends to be lower during periods with deep convection or winds stronger than 10 m s-1, or both. There is better agreement during weak conditions of convection/wind. This leads to a cold bias during convectively active periods when running average SST time series are constructed from SSTs retrieved from the TMI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1283-1290
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Atmospheric Science


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