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Weekly Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly

Sea surface temperature is affected by many things, including local weather, currents, and seasonal changes. One of the easiest ways to track changes in sea surface temperature is to view the temperature anomaly, that is, the difference between the expected temperature and the actual one. (The expected temperature is the average temperature for that day of the year, based on data from the last several decades.)

Slight differences between the expected and actual sea surface temperature are to be expected, but more severe anomalies can affect fisheries and the health of coral reefs.

Anomalies in sea temperatures can also lead to anomalies in weather. An example of this is El Niño, in which unusually warm waters in the tropical Pacific result in unusual storm patterns in North America and unusually dry weather for Australia. In this way, sea surface temperature anomalies can serve as a kind of early warning system for weather phenomena.

 


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coral bleaching
electromagnetic radiation
in-situ

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Weekly Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly

Weekly Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly - Shown here is a map of the difference between the expected and actual sea surface temperatures for the current week. Yellow, orange, and red spots indicate sea surface temperatures warmer than average, while green and blue spots indicate temperatures cooler than average. Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


 questions about the data  

question Why is this data useful to fisheries?

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 research connection  

The data obtained by microwave-sensing satellites is not perfectly accurate. Glare from the sun, aerosols (dust), rainfall and even choppy water can affect the detected sea surface temperature. For now, researchers must correlate and correct microwave and infrared readings of sea surface temperature with data from in situ buoys that measure sea surface temperature directly.


 related sites  

Microwave Remote Sensing - Explains how "passive" detection systems on satellites use microwaves to determine temperatures on earth.

Hotspot’s Sea Surface Temperature Charts - Explains the connection between sea surface charts and deep water fishing.
 


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