Dataset Summary
West Coast Regional Node

Home | Information | Data | El Niño | Software | Sites | Feedback | About Us

Sea Surface Temperature from Geostationary Meteorological Satellites

Program: NOAA Geostationary-orbiting Operational Environmental Spacecraft
Spacecraft: GOES-11 and GOES-12
Sensor: GOES Imager
Primary Geophysical Parameter: Sea surface temperature (SST)
Nominal Accuracy: 1.0 degrees Celsius (C)
Spatial grid: 0.05 degrees longitude by 0.05 degrees latitude, geographic
Spatial coverage: 180 W lon to 30 W lon; 45 S lat to 60 N lat.
Temporal Coverage: Last 60 days + (depending on storage space)
FGDC Metadata
Attention GOES Data Users! As of June, 2006, GOES-10 (GOES West) will be replaced by GOES-11. In addition, a new Bayesian cloudmask will be used to cloud clear GOES SST data. (Merchant et al., 2005)
Short Description:
Sea surface temperature retrievals are available from the GOES satellites on an hourly basis. While the spatial resolution of the sensor is a bit coarse for coastal work, and the SST product quite noisy in the daytime, these are generally out-weighed by the benefit of relatively rapid imaging. GOES SST is ideal for feature tracking and working in areas with fast-moving, ephemeral cloud cover.
Technical Summary:
CoastWatch offers sea surface temperature (SST) data from the Imager instrument aboard NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). The Imager is a multichannel radiance sensor (one visible and four infrared channels) carried aboard the GOES satellites. Currently, there are two GOES satellites in operation for NOAA. GOES-11 (GOES West) covers the Pacific Ocean basin and is located at 135 degrees west longitude and 0 degrees latitude. GOES-12 (GOES East) covers the most of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and is located at 75 degrees west longitude and 0 degrees latitude.

The method used in processing GOES Imager radiance measurements to SST was initially developed by Wu et al., 1999. The current, improved GOES SST algorithms were developed by NOAA in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh. The algorithm is explained in a poster by Maturi et al. 2004 (see As of June, 2006, a Bayesian cloudmask is used to cloud clear GOES SST products (Merchant et al., 2005). Calibration and validation of GOES SST data is accomplished by comparing SSTs with temperatures observed by a network of moored and drifting buoys. SST is available at 5.5km resolution and SST values are accurate within 1.0 degrees Celsius.

The GOES Imager downloads data every 15 minutes. CoastWatch offers SST data in composites with durations of one hour and longer. The data are mapped to an equal angle grid (0.05 degrees latitude by 0.05 degrees longitude) using a simple arithmetic mean to produce composite images of various durations (e.g., hourly, 1, 3, 8, 14-day, and 25 hour composites).
Despite our best efforts, incorrect data may often appear within near real time data sets. NOAA CoastWatch accepts no liability for use of these data products. It is recommended that these products NOT be used for navigation.
If this data is used for presentation or publication, please acknowledge the NOAA CoastWatch Program.
References and suggested citations:
Merchant, C.J., A. R. Harris, E. Maturi and S. Maccallum. 2005. Probabilistic physically based cloud screening of satellite infrared imagery for operational sea surface temperature retrieval, Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc., vol. 131 ,pp.2735-2755.

Maturi, E., C. Merchant, A. Harris, X. Li, and B. Potash. Geostationary Sea Surface Temperature Product Validation and Methodology. Poster Presentation at the American Meteorological Society's 13th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography (P5.16). Norfolk, VA; 19-23 Sept., 2004.

Wu, X., W. P. Menzel, and G. S. Wade, 1999. Estimation of sea surface temperatures using GOES-8/9 radiance measurements, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 80, 1127-1138.

^ Back to main page Privacy Policy | USDOC | NOAA | NESDIS | CoastWatch