Abstract's details

NOAA Operational Satellite Derived Oceanic Heat Content Products

David Donahue (NOAA/NESDIS, United States)


Eileen Maturi (NOAA/NESDIS, United States); Nick Shay (RSMAS - University of Miami, United States); Jodi Brewster (RSMAS - University of Miami, United States); Jerry Guo (SSAI, United States); Abraham Yuk (SSAI, United States)

Event: 2014 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Near Real Time Products and Applications and Multi-Mission, Multi-Sensor Observations

Presentation type: Type Poster

Contribution: PDF file


In September 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS) began providing operational satellite derived ocean heat content (OHC) measurements. The satellite derived OHC is a measure of the integrated vertical temperature from the sea surface to the depth of the 26°C isotherm. The product is computed from altimeter-derived isotherm depths in the upper ocean relative to a reference depth of 20°C based on a hurricane season climatology and a two layer ocean model. Product generation requires data from at least two satellite altimeters and the daily Sea Surface Height Anomaly updates from the U.S Navy Altimeter Processing System.
In the present model, the OHC estimates are calculated from 5 km resolution sea surface temperatures (SST) obtained from NESDIS GEO-POLAR Blended SST Analyses (Harris and Maturi, 2012) combined with Jason-2 and SARAL altimeter estimates of the 20°C and 26°C isotherm depths which are derived from a scheme using a daily ocean climatology of mean isotherm depths and reduced gravities. Based on a mean ratio between the 20°C and 26°C isotherm depths, the depth of the 26°C isotherm and the ocean mixed layer depth are inferred. By integrating the 26°C isotherm depth to the surface (where SST is the surface boundary condition) an OHC is calculated. The product fields are evaluated monthly using thermal structure data from various ocean data collection platforms such as Argo floats, XBT transects, mooring measurements, and airborne profiling.
Satellite derived OHC is currently produced operationally for the North Atlantic and North Pacific. Efforts are underway to add data from the Cyrosat-2 SIRAL altimeter and expand coverage to the South Pacific and Indian Oceans.
David Donahue
United States