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Surface temperature (ocean)


Ocean surface temperature (often known as ‘sea surface temperature’ or SST) is one of the most important boundary conditions for the general circulation of the atmosphere. The ocean exchanges vast amounts of heat and energy with the atmosphere and these air/sea interactions have a profound influence on the Earth’s weather and climate patterns. SST is linked closely with the ocean circulation, as demonstrated by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle.
Detailed MeasurementDescription*InstrumentsTimeline
Sea surface temperatureTemperature of the sea water at the depth of 2 m (“bulk” temperature). In effect, the observation is more significant of the upper level (< 1 mm, “skin” temperature) if measured in IR, closer to the bulk temperature if measured in MW -Physical unit: [ K ] - Accuracy unit: [ K ].48 instruments
* Description adapted from WMO.
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