To investigate the feasibility and methodology of new generation sea surface temperature (SST) maps that combine various satellite measurements, we have quantitatively evaluated SST availabilities of NOAA AVHRR (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer), GMS S-VISSR (Geostationary Meteorological Satellite, Stretched-Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer) and TRMM MI (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, Microwave Imager: TMI), during the one-year period from October 1999 to September 2000. The advantage of satellite microwave SST measurements is the ability to penetrate the clouds that contaminate satellite infrared measurements. Daily SST availabilities were calculated in the overlapping coverage from 20°N to 38°N and 120°E to 160°E. The annual-mean SST availabilities of AVHRR, S-VISSR and TMI are 48%, 56% and 78%, respectively. There are large seasonal variations in the availabilities of infrared measurements. The latitude-time plots of one-degree zonal mean SST availabilities of S-VISSR and TMI in the region from 38°S to 38°N and 80°E to 160°W show significant zonal variations, which are influenced by the atmospheric circulation such as the Subtropical High and the Intertropical Convergence Zone. The SST availabilities of S-VISSR and TMI in the five selected regions have large regional variations, ranging from 35% to 74% and 62% to 88% for S-VISSR and TMI, respectively. The present statistical analyses of SST availabilities in the infrared and microwave measurements indicate that 1) a daily cloud-free high-spatial resolution may be achieved by merging various SST measurements since their deficiencies compensate each other, and 2) nevertheless, it is necessary to take account of the seasonal and regional variations of SST availabilities of different satellite sensors for the development of merging technology.
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