Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Time Series

  • Released Thursday, February 18, 2016
  • Updated Monday, May 22, 2017 at 4:04PM
  • ID: 30753

Sea-surface temperature is measured at the ocean's surface. A sea-surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) represents how different the ocean temperature, at a particular location and time, is from the normal (or average) temperature for that place and time. These maps were created using datasets produced by the NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab and show monthly sea-surface temperature anomalies from February 2015 to February 2016. Blue colors indicate areas that are cooler than normal, while red colors indicate areas that are warmer than normal. Characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, the strong 2015-2016 El Niño event is clearly visible. A statement issued by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center on March 10, 2016, stated that "A transition to ENSO-neutral is likely during late Northern Hemisphere spring or early summer 2016, with close to a 50 percent chance for La Niña conditions to develop by the fall.”

The dataset uses the Optimum Interpolation sea-surface temperatures (OISST) generated by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. OISST uses infrared and microwave data from polar-orbiting satellites (NOAA AVHRR and NASA AMSR-E, respectively) and oceanic buoys to calculate one of the most accurate analyses of sea-surface temperature.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Datasets used in this visualization

OISSTv2 (A.K.A. NOAA Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature)

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

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