Dataset Summary
West Coast Regional Node

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Sea Surface Temperature from MODIS/Aqua

Program: NASA Earth Observing System
Spacecraft: Aqua
Sensor: Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
Data Stream: Recorder LAC
Primary Geophysical Parameter: Sea Surface Temperature
Nominal Accuracy: ±1 degree Celsius
Spatial grid: 0.0125 degrees longitude by 0.0125 degrees latitude, geographic
Spatial coverage: West Coast of North America, 155W to 105W Longitude, 22N to 51N Latitude
Temporal Coverage: Jan, 2006 - present
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Short Description:
CoastWatch offers sea surface temperature measurements from the MODIS sensor on NASA's Aqua spacecraft. SST is processed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Information on the Aqua satellite, the MODIS sensor, and NASA's processing of MODIS SST can be found on NASA's OceanColor Web.
Technical Summary:
Water leaving radiances are gathered by the MODIS sensor and processed to sea surface temperature by Goddard's Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG) using the multi-sensor level-1 to level-2 (msl12) software, the same software used to process MODIS ocean color data. Details on the OBPG's processing of MODIS SST can be found at The OBPG's processing of MODIS SST shows excellent agreement with the prior version of MODIS SST processing developed by the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (Brown and Minnett, 1999). CoastWatch uses source data from daytime passes only, which is available with a higher quality cloud-mask than data from nighttime passes.

Data are made available at approximately 1.47km resolution for the West Coast of the US. MODIS SST is accurate to within ±1 degree Celsius, and SST values are validated by comparison with buoys temperature data from the National Data Buoy Center. The data are mapped to an equal angle grid (0.0125 degrees latitude by 0.0125 degrees longitude) using a simple arithmetic mean to produce composite images of various images (1, 3, 8, 14-day).
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 and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, OceanColor Web.
References and suggested citations:
Brown, O.B. and P.J. Minnett. 1999. MODIS Infrared Sea Surface Temperature Algorithm, Version 2.0. Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document, ATBD25. University of Miami, Miami, FL. Under Contract Number NAS5-31361.

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