I am wondering what the difference between the variables Skin temperature (TS) and Effective skin temperature (TSH) are. Is skin temperature (over ocean) the appropriate variable to use for SST? Is this the temperature of the actual surface?
Also, what is the definition of Ground heating for skin temperature (GHTSKIN)? I could not find adequate descriptions of these fields in the documentation beyond their names.
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I apologize for the delay in this response. I can answer part of your question, and we will ask our subject matter experts for additional information.
Over most of the ocean, the MERRA-2 skin surface temperature is close to the oceanographic SST. There are larger differences in the polar regions. The skin surface temperature variable uses an SST dataset as input. The GMAO model that produces MERRA-2 data includes a diurnal heating factor and the effects of wind.
Some references are provided below.
The Operational Sea Surface Temperature and Sea Ice Analysis (OSTIA) system
Assimilation for skin SST in the NASA GEOS atmospheric data assimilation system
Evaluation of NASA GEOS-ADAS Modeled Diurnal Warming Through Comparisons to SEVIRI and AMSR2 SST Observations