Sea Surface Temperature compared to Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly
El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific. Sea surface temperature is the temperature of the top millimeter of 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, showing sea surface temperature and sea surface temperature anomalies, reveal the progression of the strong 2015-16 El Nino event from January 1, 2015 to January 2, 2016. The sea surface temperature data are seven-day averages calculated using daily thermal data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument. Missing data have been filled with monthly-average data. The sea surface temperature anomaly data are seven-day averages calculated using the 5-kilometer Coral Reef Watch product produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The data are based on observations from geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 18.104.22.168.0