An Improved Near-Surface Specific Humidity and Air Temperature Climatology for the SSM/I Satellite Period Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractA near-surface specific humidity (Qa) and air temperature (Ta) climatology on daily and 0.25° grids was constructed by the objectively analyzed air–sea fluxes (OAFlux) project by objectively merging two recent satellite-derived high-resolution analyses, the OAFlux existing 1° analysis, and atmospheric reanalyses. The two satellite products include the multi-instrument microwave regression (MIMR) Qa and Ta analysis and the Goddard Satellite-Based Surface Turbulent Fluxes, version 3 (GSSTF3), Qa analysis. This study assesses the degree of improvement made by OAFlux using buoy time series measurements at 137 locations and a global empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis. There are a total of 130 855 collocated daily values for Qa and 283 012 collocated daily values for Ta in the buoy evaluation. It is found that OAFlux Qa has a mean difference close to 0 and a root-mean-square (RMS) difference of 0.73 g kg?1, and Ta has a mean difference of ?0.03°C and an RMS difference of 0.45°C. OAFlux shows no major systematic bias with respect to buoy measurements over all buoy locations except for the vicinity of the Gulf Stream boundary current, where the RMS difference exceeds 1.8°C in Ta and 1.2 g kg?1 in Qa. The buoy evaluation indicates that OAFlux represents an improvement over MIMR and GSSTF3. The global EOF-based intercomparison analysis indicates that OAFlux has a similar spatial–temporal variability pattern with that of three atmospheric reanalyses including MERRA, NCEP-1, and ERA-Interim, but that it differs from GSSTF3 and the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR).

publication date

  • March 2015