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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 26 Oct 2018

Research article | 26 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

The Copernicus Surface Velocity Platform drifter with Barometer and Reference Sensor for Temperature (SVP-BRST): Genesis, design, and initial results

Paul Poli1, Marc Lucas2, Anne O'Carroll3, Marc Le Menn4, Arnaud David5, Gary K. Corlett6, Pierre Blouch7, David Meldrum8, Christopher J. Merchant9, Mathieu Belbeoch10, and Kai Herklotz11 Paul Poli et al.
  • 1Météo-France Centre de Météorologie Marine, Brest, 29200, France
  • 2Collecte Localisation Satellites, Ramonville Saint-Agne, 31520, France
  • 3European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, Darmstadt, 64295, Germany
  • 4Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine, Brest, 29200, France
  • 5NKE Instrumentation, Hennebont, 56700, France
  • 6University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, United Kingdom
  • 7Retired from Météo-France, Plouzané, 29280, France
  • 8Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, PA37 1QA, United Kingdom
  • 9University of Reading and National Centre for Earth Observation, Reading, RG6 6AH, United Kingdom
  • 10WMO-IOC Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology in-situ Observing Programmes Support Centre, Plouzané, 29280, France
  • 11Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie, Hamburg, 20359, Germany

Abstract. To support calibration and validation of satellite Sea-Surface Temperature (SST) retrievals, over 60 High Resolution SST (HRSST) drifting buoys were deployed at sea between 2012 and 2017. Their data record is reviewed here. It is confirmed that sea-state and immersion depth play an important role in understanding the data collected by such buoys and that the SST sensors need adequate insulation. In addition, calibration verification of three recovered drifters suggests that the sensor drift is low, albeit negative at around −0.01 K/year. However, the statistical significance of these results is limited, and the calibration procedure could not be exactly reproduced, introducing additional uncertainties into this drift assessment. Based on lessons learnt from these initial buoys, a new-generation drifter was designed to serve calibration of SST retrievals by European Union's Copernicus satellites. The novel drifter includes an HRSST sensor calibrated by a metrology laboratory. The sensor includes a pressure probe to monitor immersion depth in calm water, and acquires SST data at 1Hz over a 5-minute interval every hour. This enables the derivation of mean SST as well as several percentiles of the SST distribution. The HRSST sensor is calibrated with an uncertainty better than 0.01K. Analysis of the data collected by two prototypes deployed in the Mediterranean Sea shows that the buoys are able to capture small-scale SST variations. These variations are found to be smaller when the sea-state is well-mixed, and when the buoys are located within eddy cores. This affects the drifter SST data representativeness, which is an aspect of importance for optimal use of these data.

Paul Poli et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Paul Poli et al.
Data sets

Preliminary data collected by 2 prototype Surface Velocity Platform drifters with Barometer and Reference Sensor for Temperature (SVP-BRST) P. Poli, M. Lucas, A. O'Carroll, M. Le Menn, and A. David

Paul Poli et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Earth Observation satellites routinely monitor sea-surface temperature. However, they require in situ references for calibration and validation. To support this step, drifting buoys carrying sensors with improved calibration were deployed. This paper finds that sea-state and immersion depth are important to better understand the buoy measurements. A new drifting buoy was designed as a result, in the framework of the European Union Copernicus programme, with an accuracy found to be within 0.01 °C.
Earth Observation satellites routinely monitor sea-surface temperature. However, they require in...