Dataset Summary
West Coast Regional Node

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

Pathfinder Version 5.0 Sea Surface Temperature

Program: NOAA Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Spacecraft
Spacecraft: NOAA-17 and NOAA-18
Sensor: Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)
Data Stream: Recorder Global Area Coverage (GAC)
Primary Geophysical Parameter: Sea surface temperature (SST)
Nominal Accuracy: 0.3 degrees Celsius (C)
Spatial grid: 0.05 degrees longitude by 0.05 degrees latitude, geographic
Spatial coverage: Global
Temporal Coverage: January 1, 1985 - December 31, 2005
FGDC Metadata     Data Quality Act Documentation
Short Description:
The Pathfinder version 5.0 sea surface temperature data set is the highest quality data available for many regions of the world, and it is recommended that this data be used for all scientific applications, except those very near shore, which require a finer spatial grid. This data set is produced by NOAA | NODC, the University of Miami and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. The data is served here in this form (composites of ascending and descending passes with the most conservative quality flags applied) in order to reduce the complexity involved in making this data available to researchers and resource managers.
Technical Summary:
The Pathfinder Version 5.0 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data set is a reprocessing of global SST data from NOAA's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) aboard NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) and NOAA's National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) developed the reprocessing effort. This reprocessing task provides a long-term continuous data series for use in climate research as well as other applications requiring the highest quality of data.

In the POES GAC SST dataset, AVHRR radiance measurements are subsampled aboard the satellite and downloaded to receiving stations at 4km resolution. Pathfinder processing uses a modified version of the non-linear sea surface temperature (NLSST) algorithm. (Walton et al., 1998, with changes outlined in Kilpatrick et al., 2001). Changes in the algorithm include: an improved atmospheric correction, superior cloudmasking, and monthly recalculation of algorithm coefficients based on a match-up database of in situ SST measurements (moored and drifting buoys). SST data is available at 4km resolution and SST values are accurate to within 0.3 degrees Celsius.

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 individual and composite images of various durations (e.g., 8-day, and monthly). Composite images are generated using only the pixels of the highest quality.
If this data is used for presentation or publication, please acknowledge the NOAA | NESDIS | NODC, and the University of Miami.
References and suggested citations:
Casey, K.S. and P. Cornillon. 1999. A comparison of satellite and in situ based sea surface temperature climatologies. J. Climate. Vol. 12, no. 6, 1848-1863.

Kilpatrick, K.A., G.P. Podesta and R. Evans. 2001. Overview of the NOAA/NASA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Pathfinder algorithm for sea surface temperature and associated matchup database, J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 106 (C5): 9179-9197.

Walton C. C., W. G. Pichel, J. F. Sapper, D. A. May. 1998. The development and operational application of nonlinear algorithms for the measurement of sea surface temperatures with the NOAA polar-orbiting environmental satellites, J. Geophys. Res., 103: (C12), 27999-28012.

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