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 East Coast 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 blended microwave- and infrared-wavelength data was taken by the AMSR-E and MODIS instruments aboard the Aqua satellite, and the TMI instrument aboard the TRMM satellite. This animation updates every 24 hours.
This animation shows the progression of warm waters slowly filling the Gulf of Mexico (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 to the present.
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 126.96.36.199.0