NCEP SST Analysis

Because there are a number of different uses for sea surface temperature analysis, a number of different analyses have developed in NCEP. The two families are the RTG -- Real Time Global, and the OI -- Optimal Interpolation. The RTG analyses are aimed at weather prediction and modeling, particularly at high resolution and short range. The RTG analyses employ a 2DVAR analysis technique. The OI analyses are lower resolution and aimed more at long range weather and climate.

In describing sea 'surface' temperature, there are actually several surface levels that data initially arrive on. For all 5 of our SST analyses, we reference a 'bulk' temperature -- a temperature representative of the upper layer of the ocean. This is approximately the temperature seen by buoys and some ships. Other ships observe lower in the water column. Infrared instruments, such as AVHRR and VIIRS observe most directly the 'skin' temperature, the upper 10 microns of the water. Microwave instruments, such as AMSR-E and WindSat, observe the upper couple of centimeters.

Robert Grumbine -- General questions

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