The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) office of National Environmental Satellite Data and Services (NESDIS) now generates a daily 0.05° (~5km) global high resolution satellite-based sea surface temperature (SST) analyses on an operational basis. The new analysis combines SST data from U.S, Japanese and European geostationary infrared imagers, and low-earth orbiting infrared (U.S. and European) SST data, into a single high-resolution 5-km product - this grid spacing was chosen to allow the resolution to approach the Nyquist sampling criterion for the mid-latitude Rossby radius (~20 km), in order to preserve mesoscale oceanographic features such as eddies and frontal meanders. The input SST data themselves are also processed in-house via the Geo-SST Bayesian and physical retrieval approach (GOES-E/W, Meteosat-10), and, for polar-orbiting and Himawari-8, the Advanced Clear Sky Processor for Oceans (ACSPO).


The analysis employs a rigorous multi-scale optimal interpolation (OI) methodology that approximates the Kalman filter, together with a data-adaptive correlation length scale, to ensure a good balance between detail preservation and noise reduction. The multi-scale OI employs a quad-tree approach avoids the concomitant computation times that result from pursuing a straight OI methodology, while running the analysis at three different correlation scales (coarse, medium, fine) preserves mathematical rigor. The algorithm is fully described in Khellah et al. (2005).


The product accuracy verified against globally distributed buoys is ~0.02 K, with a robust standard deviation of ~0.25 K. The new analysis has proven a significant success even when compared to other products that purport to have a similar resolution. This analysis forms the basis for other operational environmental products such as coral reef bleaching risk and ocean heat content for tropical cyclone prediction.

Future enhancements

Forthcoming enhancements include the incorporation of microwave SST products from low-earth orbiting platforms (e.g. GCOM-W1) in order to improve resolution of SST features in areas of persistent cloud and correct for diurnal effects via a turbulence model of upper ocean heating.


The analysis has been run for the period 09/2002 – 08/2015, incorporating reprocessed geostationary and polar-orbiting SSTs. This has been done primarily to furnish a consistent reference baseline for anomaly-based products such as those generated by Coral Reef Watch.


Key Description
Platform/Sensor Geo-Polar Blended (Imager + AVHRR + VIIRS )
Measurement/Products SST
DOI n/a
Short Name GEO-POLAR
Sample Filename GPBCW_B2016298_WW00_sst_5km_night.hdf
Dataset Type n/a
Processing Level 3
Spatial Coverage Global
Temporal Coverage Near real-time + 3 days
Resolution 5km
Projection Geographic / WGS84
Latency Near real-time
Swath Width n/a
Sample Frequency n/a
Temporal Repeat n/a
Orbital Period n/a
Orbit n/a
Data Provider Creator: NOAA OSPO
Release Place: Suitland, MD, USA
Keywords NOAA, Multi-sensor, sea surface temperature, SST, CoastWatch
Formats PNG, TIFF, HDF

Data Access

[Please acknowledge "NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch" when you use data from our site and cite the particular dataset DOI as appropriate.]


  • Donlon, C.J., Martin, M., Stark, J., Roberts-Jones, J., Fiedler, E., and Wimmer, W., The Operational Sea Surface Temperature and Sea Ice Analysis (OSTIA) system, Remote Sens. Environ., 116, 140-158, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2010.10.017, 2012.
  • Harris, A., and Maturi, E., Assimilation of Satellite Sea Surface Temperature Retrievals. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 1575-1580, 2003. doi:10.1175/BAMS-84-11-1575
  • Ignatov, Alexander, Xinjia Zhou, Boris Petrenko, Xingming Liang, Yury Kihai, Prasanjit Dash, John Stroup, John Sapper, and Paul DiGiacomo. "AVHRR GAC SST Reanalysis Version 1 (RAN1)." Remote Sensing 8, no. 4 (April 9, 2016): 315. doi:10.3390/rs8040315.
  • Khellah, F., P.W. Fieguth, M.J. Murray and M.R. Allen, Statistical Processing of Large Image Sequences, IEEE Trans. Geosci. Rem. Sens., 14, 80-93, 2005
  • Liu, Gang, Alan E. Strong, and William Skirving. "Remote Sensing of Sea Surface Temperatures during 2002 Barrier Reef Coral Bleaching." Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 84, no. 15 (April 15, 2003): 137-41. doi:10.1029/2003EO150001.
  • Liu, Gang, Scott F. Heron, C. Mark Eakin, Frank E. Muller-Karger, Maria Vega-Rodriguez, Liane S. Guild, Jacqueline L. De La Cour, et al. "Reef-Scale Thermal Stress Monitoring of Coral Ecosystems: New 5-Km Global Products from NOAA Coral Reef Watch." Remote Sensing 6, no. 11 (November 20, 2014): 11579-606. doi:10.3390/rs61111579.
  • Maturi, Eileen, Andy Harris, Jon Mittaz, John Sapper, Gary Wick, Xiaofang Zhu, Prasanjit Dash, and Prabhat Koner. "A New High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature Blended Analysis." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society IN PRESS
  • Reynolds, R.W., and Chelton, D.B., Comparisons of daily sea surface temperature analyses for 2007-08, J. Climate, 23, 3545-3562, 2010.
  • Thiébaux, J., Rogers, E., Wang, W., and Katz, B., A New High-Resolution Blended Real-Time Global Sea Surface Temperature Analysis. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 645-656, 2003.

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