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Mean seasonal cycle and evolution of the sea surface temperature from satellite and in situ data in the English Channel for the period 1986-2006

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A night-time series of sea surface temperature (SST) of the advanced very high-resolution radiometer (AVHRR) sensors provided by the AVHRR/Pathfinder was analysed over the period 1986-2006 in the English Channel. The studied area is characterized by a strong influence of the bathymetry on the mixing of the water column, mostly through the action of the tide and waves, leading to regional patterns in the SST fields. Another specific aspect of the area is the relatively large number of in situ measurements available from coastal stations. The remotely sensed SST data with fine spatial resolution and high-frequency measurements made at coastal stations have been analysed using a common model. The long-term evolution of SST has been defined in this study through a linear trend while the seasonal evolution has been described through two harmonic functions. The daily satellite SST fields have been estimated over the period 1986-2006 by applying the kriging method to the anomalies calculated from the model. These interpolated temperatures were compared with in situ data, including many coastal stations unreachable at the sensor resolution. To use those coastal stations for comparison and to complement the satellite-derived data set, we defined transfer functions established from fine analysis of the in situ gradients along cross shore transects. The study showed the existence of a long-term warming and that this trend was not homogeneous in the area studied. The central part of the English Channel and the Western part of Brittany show an increase in temperature of about 0.6°C and the Northern part of the Irish and Baltic Sea, included in the studied area, show a maximum increase in the temperature of 1.6°C over the period 1986-2006.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: IFREMER, Dynamique des Ecosystemes Cotiers, Plouzane, Brittany, France

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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