The Second NASA Sea Surface Temperature Science Team Meeting

2-4 November 2011

Marriott Courtyard Coconut Grove, Florida


In an effort to better coordinate NASA-funded projects that relate to satellite-derived SST products, the NASA Physical Oceanography Program Manager, Dr Eric Lindstrom, formed an Interim Sea Surface Temperature Science Team (ISSTST) in 2009 consisting of many of those in the U.S. research community using or developing SST products. A workshop[1] was held in Rhode Island from 16 to 18 November 2009 with the objective of developing a white paper identifying the components of the SST error budget. The white paper and reports from each of 6 topical breakout groups, which formed the core of the workshop, are available at the ISSTST web site[2].

Based on the work of the 2009 meeting and resulting white paper a formal NASA Sea Surface Temperature Science Team was announced in the 2009 ROSES Appendix A.41 [2] “The Science of Terra and Aqua” with the following description:

The Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Science Team will be responsible for the quality and integrity of NASA’s measurements of global sea surface temperature. This team replaces former instrument science teams, specifically the SST components of MODIS, NPP [3], ASTER, and AMSR-E Science Teams. The SST Science Team will address estimates of SST as follows:

  1. Algorithm development, refinement, and maintenance for the systematic time series and new, exploratory or one-time measurements;
  2. Calibration and validation of measurements, including cross-calibration and intercomparison of systematic measurements and data products from different sensors used to produce a time series;
  3. Data processing, production, and distribution for measurements; and
  4. Scientific utilization of measurements and data products to understand the SST uncertainty budget, as well as utilization of these measurements in combination with other ocean and atmosphere measurements to understand the general circulation of the ocean and air-sea coupling in the global climate system.

The Science Team was formed in mid-2010 and the First NASA SST Science Team Meeting [4] was held from 8-10 November 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The objective of 2010 meeting was to build on the results of the 2009 ISSTST meeting as summarized in the White Paper [5] as well as to continue to develop scientific applications of SST data in terms of research opportunities, and space/time sampling and accuracy requirements. The meeting was open to all. The structure of the meeting, determined by submitted abstracts, consisted of four sessions[6]:

  1. The physical basis of SST measurements,
  2. Calibration, instrument characterization, and measurement validation: pre-launch and on-orbit,
  3. The Climate Record: reprocessing, data access, and stability of climate record, and
  4. Data merging and gridding.

The date and location for the Second NASA SST ST Meeting, 2-4 November 2011 in the Miami area, was selected at the 2010 meeting.

The Second NASA SST Science Team Meeting

As with the First NASA SST ST Meeting, this meeting will continue to address issues associated with the SST error budget outlined in the White Paper (and shown in the figure below) as well as to develop scientific applications of satellite-derived SST data. Specifically, presentations addressing the following have been solicited and will form the core of the presentations:

  1. The physical basis of SST measurements,
  2. Radiative transfer modeling and SST retrieval algorithm development,
  3. Calibration, instrument characterization, and measurement validation,
  4. Data merging and gridding, and
  5. Applications making use of SST fields to include:
    1. The Climate Record: reprocessing, data access, and stability of climate record,
    2. Feature studies: fronts, eddies, currents,
    3. Heat flux studies,…

Participants are encouraged to present material that they believe to be new to a significant fraction of the Science Team and other attendees.

Registration for the Meeting:

This meeting is open to all interested individuals. If you have not yet registered, you can still do so at:, however it is too late to submit an abstract.

If you have not yet booked your hotel room at the Marriott, I may still be able to get you a room at the $149 rate; please contact me at:

SST Science Team web site:

A web site for the SST Science Team is available at This web site contains information about this meeting as well as previous meetings and a link to the SST Error Budget White Paper around which this meeting is being organized.


The agenda, following the description of the breakouts, is based on submitted abstracts and the focus on continued refinement of the SST Error Budget White Paper, specifically to prioritize work required to improve SST fields and to understand the dynamics of the upper ocean and overlying atmosphere. The priorities for future funding identified in each of the breakouts will be discussed by the group as a whole in plenary on Friday.

There will also be a discussion of the role and mechanics of the science team on Friday morning.

Here are links for the agendas for each day:

Wednesday November 2, 2011

Thursday November 3, 2011

Friday November 4, 2011


There will be two sets of three breakouts. The first set of three, to take place on Wednesday afternoon, will update the list of recommendations from the SST Error Budget white paper and will take a first crack at prioritizing these recommendations. The three breakout groups, listed at the end of this document, have been structured such that each has a similar mix of those interested in applications and those interested in various aspects associated with the development of SST products. Note that all of the application presentations will be made prior to the first set of breakouts. This has been done to help in the prioritization of the list of recommendations – they should be prioritized based on the scientific applications to be made of the data.

The second set of the breakouts will take place on Thursday afternoon. In this case the three breakout groups have been structured based on three focus areas: applications, retrievals and data products generation including data merging and gridding. These groups will return to the prioritization arrived at the previous day and refine it in light of the subsequent presentations and the assembled expertise in each of the areas.

Meeting Hosts:

Graduate School of Oceanography
University of Rhode Island

Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
University of Miami

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

[1] Interim SST Science Team meeting web page:

[3] MODIS and NPP teams have recently been reconstituted as a result of the ROSES 2010 announcement. In fact, the SST Science Team complements some of the Teams previously tied to specific sensors rather than replacing them as envisioned in the ROSES 2009 call.

[4] First NASA SST Science Team web page:

[6] First NASA SST Science Team Meeting agenda: