EMIS - MODIS-TERRA Monthly climatology sea surface temperature (2km) in degree-C

Collection: EMIS : Environmental Marine Information System 


Monthly climatology sea surface temperature (in degree-C at 2km resolution) derived from the MODIS-TERRA sensor (Satellite remote sensing Ocean color data): Sea surface temperature is the temperature of the water close to the sea surface.

SST is a standard product from satellite-based thermal infra-red sensors, and optical sensors complemented with infrared bands.


jrc-emis (at)


  • Frederic Melin

How to cite

Melin, Frederic (2013): EMIS - MODIS-TERRA Monthly climatology sea surface temperature (2km) in degree-C. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID:


climate change coastal environment GIS digital format marine environment marine monitoring ocean color satellite observations sea surface temperature climatology sea water protection

Data access

EMIS - Download access (EMIS_T_SST)
  • Direct NetCDF download

Spatial coverage

Type Value
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POLYGON ((-30 70, 42 70, 42 10, -30 10, -30 70))

Temporal coverage

From date To date
2000-02-01 2012-12-31

Lineage information

General information: Monthly mean sea surface temperature (SST) in deg. Celsius (degree-C) derived from MODIS-Terra sensor ( Processing information: Sea surface temperature (SST) is derived from MODIS-Terra multi-band measurements using the NASA software package SeaDAS 6.4 and a nonlinear SST (NLSST) algorithm originally described in Walton et al. 1998, using the brightness temperature at wavebands between 10 and 12 µm. Temporal characteristics: The product consists of standard monthly mean sea surface temperature derived from night-time products (NSST) at 2km resolution. Data time series started in February 2000 and is regularly updated most recent years. Description of observation methods/instruments: MODIS-Terra sensor passively collects radiations emitted from the sea surface at a number of wavebands ranging from 0.4 to 14.4 µm, i.e. from the visible to thermal infrared. The strength of infrared radiations emitted by the ocean surface is a function of the temperature, i.e. the higher the temperature, the greater the radiant energy from the sea surface. SST is thus retrieved after correcting the water-surface emitted signal from the contribution due to the atmosphere. The processing includes a cloud screening procedure to avoid cloud temperature contaminated pixels. Quality/accuracy/calibration information: The satellite-derived SST product represents the 'skin temperature', that is the temperature of the top millimeters of the ocean surface. Comparisons with field measurements of bulk and skin temperature resulted in an absolute uncertainty of <0.2K. References: CC Walton et al. 1998. The development and operational application of non-linear algorithms for the measurements of sea surface temperatures with the NOAA polar-orbiting environmental satellites. J. Geophys. Res. 103 (C12): 27999-28012.

Additional information

Published by
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
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