Pilot Project on High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (PP-HRSST)


Following a dialogue between the DBCP and the Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST), the 26th session of the DBCP (Oban, 2010) recognised that drifter SST was critical for the validation of satellite-derived SST, and that the resolution and accuracy of currently reported drifter SST was inadequate. The Panel accordingly decided to establish a Pilot Project for HRSST, overseen by a Steering Group (SG), and with a defined workplan and a three-year duration. Despite considerable investment by the Panel, ESURFMAR and the Met Office, initial deployments of HRSST drifters did not demonstrate a significant improvement in satellite SST retrievals, largely because of the failure of ENVISAT during the evaluation phase. Furthermore, the satellite community proved unable to contribute to the exercise in material terms. Accordingly, with regret, the Panel suspended PP-HRSST’s activities at its 30th session (Weihai, 2014).


More recently, the European satellite community has become proactive in supporting the rollout and evaluation of HRSST drifters through specific funded actions by ESA and EUMETSAT. The Panel therefore asked that PP-HRSST be reactivated, and that a revised SG membership and workplan be proposed for consideration by the DBCP EB in advance of its 33rd session (Brest, 2017)

Terms of Reference of the SG


    1. The SG will work closely with the GHRSST to:

      1. agree and review instrumentation standards and achieve consensus on best practice for drifter SST;
      2. identify optimal target ocean areas that will be likely to deliver a high number of matchups and demonstrate the impact of drifter HRSST within the project lifespan;
      3. secure sufficient funding to allow the project to proceed expeditiously;
      4. work with buoy agencies, the space community and manufacturers to allow a sufficient number of upgraded HRSST drifters to be procured and deployed in the chosen target area(s);
      5. ensure that HRSST data flow onto the GTS and are clearly identified as HRSST in associated meta-data and/or bulletin headers;
      6. assist in the analysis of the impact of the data on satellite SST retrievals;report to the Panel at its annual sessions and in the published literature.

    1. The SG chair and vice chair will be appointed by the Panel, and will recruit other members of the team, drawn from the satellite community, buoy operators, manufacturers, scientists, GHRSST, end-users and other interested partie.

    1. The SG chair will convene annual meetings of the SG, will communicate regularly with SG members by e-mail, and will report annually to the Panel.
Member Role Country
Jonathan Turton
Met Office
ex officio United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Craig Donlon
European Space Agency, European Space Research and Technology Centre
David Meldrum Chair United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Luca Centurioni
University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
United States of America
Rick Lumpkin
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
United States of America
Andy Sybrandy
Pacific Gyre Inc.
United States of America
Champika Gallage
World Meteorological Organization - Observing System and Information Department
Long Jiang
DBCP Technical Coordinator France
Bernie Petolas Canada
Anne O'Carroll
European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites
Marc Lucas
Collecte et Localisation par Satellite (CLS/Service Argos)
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