Validity of sea surface temperature observed with the TRITON buoy under diurnal heating conditions

Yoshimi Kawai, Hiroshi Kawamura, Sumio Tanba, Kentaro Ando, Kunio Yoneyama, Norio Nagahama

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13 Citations (Scopus)


In order to investigate the validity of buoy-observed sea surface temperature (SST), we installed special instruments to measure near-surface ocean temperature on the TRITON buoy moored at 2.07°N, 138.06°E from 2 to 13 March 2004, in addition to a standard buoy sensor for the regular SST measurement at 1.5-m depth. Large diurnal SST variations were observed during this period, and the variations of the temperatures at about 0.3-m depth could be approximately simulated by a one-dimensional numerical model. However, there was a notable discrepancy between the buoy-observed 1.5-m-depth SST (SST1.5m) and the corresponding model-simulated temperature only during the daytime when the diurnal rise was large. The evaluation of the heat balance in the sea surface layer showed that the diurnal rise of the SST1.5m in these cases could not be accounted for by solar heating alone. We examined the depth of the SST1.5m sensor and the near-surface temperature observed from a ship near the buoy, and came to the conclusion that the solar heating of the buoy hull and/or a disturbance in the temperature field around the buoy hull would contribute to the excessive diurnal rise of the SST1.5m observed with the TRITON buoy. However, the temperature around the hull was not sufficiently homogenized, as suggested in a previous paper. For the diurnal rise of the SST1.5m exceeding 0.5 K, the daytime buoy data became doubtful, through dynamics that remain to be clarified. A simple formula is proposed to correct the unexpected diurnal amplitude of the buoy SST1.5m.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-838
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Diurnal warming
  • Platform effect
  • SST
  • TRITON buoy
  • Western tropical Pacific

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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