NASA sees a different kind of El Nino

A new NASA visualization shows the 2015 El Niño unfolding in the Pacific Ocean, as sea surface temperatures create different patterns than seen in the 1997-1998 El Niño. Computer models are just one tool that NASA scientists ...

Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning

The Atlantic overturning—one of Earth's most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northward and cold water southward—is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years. Sea surface temperature ...

Added Arctic data shows global warming didn't pause

Missing Arctic temperature data, not Mother Nature, created the seeming slowdown of global warming from 1998 to 2012, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

2018-2022 expected to be abnormally hot years

This summer's worldwide heatwave makes 2018 a particularly hot year. And the next few years will be similar, according to a study led by Florian Sévellec, a CNRS researcher at the Laboratory for Ocean Physics and Remote ...

Warmer Mediterranean turns the Sahel green

Climate change can have mixed consequences: It would appear that the warming of the Mediterranean region, which has brought greater heat and drought to the countries there for around 20 years, is behind an increase in rainfall ...

Sahara dust may make you cough, but it's a storm killer

The bad news: Dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa—totaling a staggering 2 to 9 trillion pounds worldwide—has been almost a biblical plague on Texas and much of the Southern United States in recent weeks. The good news: ...

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Sea surface temperature

Sea surface temperature (SST) is the water temperature close to the surface.

In practical terms, the exact meaning of surface varies according to the measurement method used. A satellite infrared radiometer indirectly measures the temperature of a very thin layer of about 10 micrometres thick (referred to as the skin) of the ocean which leads to the phrase skin temperature (because infrared radiation is emitted from this layer). A microwave instrument measures subskin temperature at about 1 mm. A thermometer attached to a moored or drifting buoy in the ocean would measure the temperature at a specific depth, (e.g. at 1 meter below the sea surface) — this temperature during the day is called temperature of the warm layer. The measurements routinely made from ships are often from the engine water intakes and may be at various depths in the upper 20 m of the ocean. In fact, this temperature is often called sea surface temperature, or foundation temperature. Note that the depth of measurement in this case will vary with the cargo aboard the vessel.

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