Great Lake Water Surface Temperatures

June 13th, 2012 |
MODIS and AVHRR Lake Surface Temperatures (click image to play animation)

MODIS and AVHRR Lake Surface Temperatures (click image to play animation)

Clear skies over the upper Midwest on the morning of 13 June 2012 allowed the MODIS instrument on board Aqua and the AVHRR instrument on board NOAA-19 to sense the surface temperature of Lakes Michigan and Superior. Which instrument yielded observations that were closer to those recorded in situ by the moored buoys maintained by the National Data Buoy Center? The loop above of MODIS Lake Surface Temperatures and AVHRR Lake Surface Temperatures suggests that the MODIS-derived values are 1-3 Fahrenheit degrees warmer. MODIS values are also closer to the observed values at the moored buoys (45002 and 45007 in Lake Michigan, 45003 in Lake Huron and 45004 in Lake Superior). The higher spectral resolution on MODIS leads to a more accurate depiction of the lake surface in this case.

The National Weather Service in Sullivan, WI, has noted that lake temperatures are running much warmer than normal this year, in part because of the record warmth in March.

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