Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico rise due to natural summer warming. These warm surface temperatures are a contributing factor to favorable conditions that can lead to the formation of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Eastern Shore of the United States. In general, hurricanes tend to form over warm ocean water whose temperature is 82 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 27.7 degrees Celsius) or higher. These areas are depicted in yellow, orange, and red. This data was taken by the AMSR-E instrument aboard the Aqua satellite.
This animation shows the progression of warm waters slowly filling the Gulf of Mexico in 2007(shown in yellow, orange, and red). This natural annual warming contributes to the possible formation of hurricanes in the Gulf. SST data shown here ranges from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007.
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