Sunday, April 23, 2017

Land Masks and ERSST

I use ERSST V4 as the ocean temperature data for TempLS. The actual form of he data is sometimes inconvenient; it probably wasn't intended for my kind of use. I described how it fits in here. My main complaint there was that it sets SST under sea ice to -1.8°C, which is obviously not useful as an air proxy. They obviously can't produce a good proxy, but it would be better to have the area explicitly masked, as you can't tell when the temperature is below about 1° whether it is really so, or whether there was part of the month that was frozen over, pulling down the average.

I described last month a new process I use to get a more evenly distributed subset of the ERSST for processing. The native density of 2x2° is unbalanced relative to land, and biases the temperature toward marine. The new scheme works well, but it draws attention to another issue. ERSST seems to quote a temperature for any cell for which they have a reading, even if the cell is mostly land. And in the new scheme, cell centers can more easily be on land. In particular, one turned up in the English Midlands, just near where I was once told is the point at maximum distance from the sea.

I've been thinking more about land masking lately. I have from a long while ago a set of masks that were used in the ISLSCP 2 project. They come in 1, 1/2 and 1/4° resolution, and in one version have percentages marked. I used the percent version to get land % for the 2° grid, and compared with what ERSST reported. Here is a WebGL version of that:

The ERSST filled cells are marked in pink; the land mask in lilac. The cells in green are both in ERSST and the land mask; white cells are in neither. You can switch the checkboxes top right to look at just ERSST, just mask, or just the green if you want. I called the green OVER, because it seems to mainly show sea intruding on land.

There is a tendency for the green to appear on west coasts, which suggests that the ERSST might be misaligned. One annoying thing about ERSST is that they aren't explicit about wherther the coordinates given for a cell represent the center or a corner. I've assumed center. If you moved ERSST one degree west, the green would then appear, a little more profusely, on the East coasts. I used 60% sea as the cut-off for the lnd mask. This was a result of trial; 50% meant that the land mask tended tp fall short of the coast more than overshoot; 60% seemed to be the balance point. Either is pretty good.

So my remedy has been to remove the green cells from the ERSST data. That seems to fix the problem. It raises anomalies very slightly, because it upweights land, but March rose from 0.89 to just 0.894, with similar rises in earlier months. The area involved is small.

I am now looking at ways to landmask the triangular mesh.

1 comment:

  1. Working with a large amount of gridded data myself on a project, I find ambiguity about grid point location (center vs. corner) is a huge headache. It doesn't matter too much for higher resolution datasets (e.g. 1x1 or below), but for 2x2 or 5x5 it can really mess things up...