Microwave-infrared, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Microwave Imager and Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer – Earth observing system, and WindSat sea surface temperatures are validated in coastal waters of the northern South China Sea using in situ measurements from three anchored buoys from 2010–2013. Validation of satellite sea surface temperatures shows that biases ± standard deviations of Microwave-infrared, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Microwave Imager and Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer – Earth observing system, and WindSat daytime and nighttime sea surface temperatures against Maoming buoy sea surface temperatures are 0.18 ± 0.74, 0.60 ± 0.57, 0.76 ± 0.61, and 0.22 ± 0.74°C, respectively, and against Shantou buoy sea surface temperatures are 0.02 ± 0.58, 0.05 ± 0.53, 0.04 ± 0.69, and −0.05 ± 0.71°C, respectively. Because the Shanwei buoy is very close to the coast, the bias of satellite sea surface temperatures against the Shanwei buoy sea surface temperatures is very large, especially in the winter. The mean biases of satellite sea surface temperatures in coastal waters, except for very close to the coast, are roughly equivalent to previous results in the northern South China Sea. The accuracies of satellite sea surface temperatures in coastal waters of the northern South China Sea depend not only on season, wind speed, wind direction, and region, but also on the satellite product. Accuracy and applicability of satellite-derived sea surface temperature also has the potential to further improve, especially in near-coastal areas.

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