Comparison of remotely-sensed sea surface temperature and salinity products with in situ measurements from British Columbia, Canada

Thakur, Krishna K. and Vanderstichel, Raphaël and Barrell, Jeffrey and Stryhn, Henrik and Patanasatienkul, Thitiwan and Revie, Crawford W. (2018) Comparison of remotely-sensed sea surface temperature and salinity products with in situ measurements from British Columbia, Canada. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5 (APR). 121. ISSN 2296-7745 (

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Sea surface temperature (SST) and salinity (SSS) are essential variables at the ocean and atmosphere interface when considering risk factors for disease in farmed and wild fish stocks. Ecological research has witnessed a recent trend in use of digital and satellite technologies, including remote-sensing tools. We explored spatial coverage of remotely-sensed SST and SSS data and compared them with in situ measurements of water temperatures and salinity, which led to suggested adjustments to the remotely-sensed data for its use in aquaculture research. The in situ data were from farms and wild surveillance sites in coastal British Columbia, Canada, from 2003 to 2016. Concurrent SST and SSS values were extracted from remotely-sensed products and compared with 20,513 and 20,038 in situ records for water temperature and salinity, respectively, from 232 different sites. Among nine SST products evaluated, the UKMO OSTIA SST (UK Meteorological Office) had the highest retrieval, and highest concordance correlation coefficient (0.86), highest index of agreement (0.93), fewest missing values, and smallest mean and SD values for bias, when compared to in situ measurements. A mixed linear regression model with UKMO OSTIA SST as the predictor for in situ measurements estimated an adjustment coefficient of 0.89°C for UKMO OSTIA SST. None of the three SSS products evaluated provided appropriate corresponding values for in situ sites, suggesting that spatial coverage for the study area is currently lacking. This study demonstrates that, among SST products, UKMO OSTIA SST is currently best suited for aquaculture studies in coastal BC. The near real-time availability of these data with the estimated adjustment would allow their use in forecast models, surveillance of pathogens, and the creation of risk maps.


Thakur, Krishna K., Vanderstichel, Raphaël, Barrell, Jeffrey, Stryhn, Henrik, Patanasatienkul, Thitiwan and Revie, Crawford W. ORCID logoORCID:;