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Sea Surface Temperature (SST) was derived from infrared (IR) observations collected by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensors flown on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite (POES) series. Data are collected using the High Resolution Picture Transmission (HRPT) antenna located at the University of South Florida, in St. Petersburg, FL., and the archive holdings are available through today.
All passes from all NOAA AVHRR satellite passes collected since September 1993 are available, including all nighttime and daytime passes starting with the AVHRR on the NOAA 11 satellite.
SST was computed using the multi-channel sea-surface temperature (MCSST) algorithm developed by McClain et al. (1985; see also McClain et al., 1983; Strong and McClain, 1984; Walton, 1988; Wick et al., 1992). The approximate root mean square (rms) error of the AVHRR SST retrievals, confirmed by our lab through comparisons with in situ data, is of the order of 0.5 degrees C (see also Brown, 1985; Minnett, 1991).
All SST fields are mapped to a Cylindrical Equidistant projection, according to the coordinates shown in Table 1 below.
Note however, that radiometers sense radiation emitted from the upper few micrometers of the ocean only (Grassl, 1976). This "skin" is the top of the millimeter-thin molecular boundary layer that transports heat from a turbulent ocean below to a turbulent atmosphere above (Wick et al., 1992). There can be considerable differences between the skin temperature and the bulk temperature of sea water (Schluessel et al, 1987; Schluessel et al, 1990), and mass flux by evaporation and radiative cooling, i.e. processes that act strongly on daily and seasonal scales, lead to considerable differences (Maul, 1985, page 186). This effect therefore may mask variability in the depth dimension.