Sea Surface Temperature

The temperature at the surface of the ocean (SST : sea surface temperature) is an important physical property that can be measured quite easily from Earth Observation satellites. SST has a strong influence on the exchange of heat, momentum, water and gases between the ocean and the atmosphere. Knowledge of the geographical distribution of SST and its variation with time is therefore essential for predicting the dynamical behaviour of the atmosphere and the ocean. SST is also an important indicator of climate and climate change, giving us a finger on the pulse of the planet itself.

The large volume of data acquired from twenty years of satellite observations of SST has given scientists a uniquely detailed view of the changing physical characteristics of the surface of the oceans, sampled at a rate impossible to achieve with only ship based observations. Today the entire planet is observed at least once a day by various satellite sensors. Demands are increasing to frequently update measurements of SST for use in near-real time to drive ocean forecasting models, and for numerical weather prediction. At the same time the use of SST as a measure of climate change requires measurements of high accuracy.

In that prospect, CERSAT is deeply involved, with several partners, in the delivery of sea surface temperature data from various satellite missions and in the development of products, tools and applications to support users.

  • archiving and disseminating operationaly sea surface temperature data from multiple missions in the context of various projects and partnerships (O&SI SAF, Medspiration, MyOcean, ...)
  • developing and generating advanced high-resolution products merging the data from multiple sensors
  • supporting users in their understanding and usage of satellite sea surface temperature data
  • Providing tools and ressources for the monitoring and the validation of the quality of sea surface temperature data
  • understanding the ocean dynamics from SST patterns and their evolution with time