Deriving Arctic 2 m air temperatures over snow and ice from satellite surface temperature measurements

Nielsen-Englyst, Pia; Høyer, Jacob L.; Madsen, Kristine S.; Tonboe, Rasmus T.; Dybkjær, Gorm; Skarpalezos, Sotirios

The Arctic region is responding heavily to climate change, and yet, the air temperature of ice-covered areas in the Arctic is heavily under-sampled when it comes to in situ measurements, resulting in large uncertainties in existing weather and reanalysis products. This paper presents a method for estimating daily mean clear-sky 2 m air temperatures (T2m) in the Arctic from satellite observations of skin temperature, using the Arctic and Antarctic ice Surface Temperatures from thermal Infrared (AASTI) satellite dataset, providing spatially detailed observations of the Arctic. The method is based on a linear regression model, which has been tuned against in situ observations to estimate daily mean T2m based on clear-sky satellite ice surface skin temperatures. The daily satellite-derived T2m product includes estimated uncertainties and covers the Arctic sea ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet during clear skies for the period 2000–2009, provided on a 0.25inline-formula regular latitude–longitude grid. Comparisons with independent in situ measured T2m show average biases of 0.30 and 0.35inline-formulaC and average root-mean-square errors of 3.47 and 3.20 inline-formulaC for land ice and sea ice, respectively. The associated uncertainties are verified to be very realistic for both land ice and sea ice, using in situ observations. The reconstruction provides a much better spatial coverage than the sparse in situ observations of T2m in the Arctic and is independent of numerical weather prediction model input. Therefore, it provides an important supplement to simulated air temperatures to be used for assimilation or global surface temperature reconstructions. A comparison of T2m derived from satellite and ERA-Interim/ERA5 estimates shows that the satellite-derived T2m validates similar to or better than ERA-Interim/ERA5 against in situ measurements in the Arctic.

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Nielsen-Englyst, Pia / Høyer, Jacob L. / Madsen, Kristine S. / et al: Deriving Arctic 2 m air temperatures over snow and ice from satellite surface temperature measurements. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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