About this dataset
Sea surface temperature is the temperature of the top millimeter of the ocean's surface. Sea surface temperatures influence weather, including hurricanes, as well as plant and animal life in the ocean. Like Earth's land surface, sea surface temperatures are warmer near the equator and colder near the poles. Currents like giant rivers move warm and cold water around the world's oceans. Some of these currents flow on the surface, and they are obvious in sea surface temperature images.
Warm ocean waters help form clouds and affect weather patterns. The sea's surface temperature also affects life in the ocean by influencing where and when tiny ocean plants (called phytoplankton) will grow. For all of these reasons scientists monitor the sea's surface temperature. These maps show satellite measurements of the sea's surface temperature for a given day, or for a span of days.