Sea Surface Temperature

About the SLSTR

Thumbnail - Sentinel-3 Launch - SST - Feature

The dual view, nine-channel Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) on board Sentinel-3 will haves a resolution of 500 m in the visible and shortwave infrared and 1 km in the thermal infrared and include two channels optimised for fire monitoring.

It continues and further improves the sea surface temperature record collected by the AATSR instruments flown on ERS and Envisat satellites. The aim is to collect highly accurate measurements to provide a reference dataset for other sea surface temperature missions on other satellites.

The design of SLSTR is improved from the previous AATSR instruments to include a wider swath of 1400 km in the nadir view and 740 km in the dual view.

As well as monitoring SST, the instrument will also monitor sea and land ice temperature, atmospheric aerosols and cloud properties and fires (both over land and for ocean gas flares).

Last Updated:  Monday, 01 April 2019

How is sea surface temperature data used?

Sea surface temperature data is used as input for weather and ocean forecasting, to observe and monitor ocean current systems and ocean fronts, eddies, upwelling areas, marine ecosystems and the development of large scale El Niño/La Niña events.

Because of the importance of sea surface temperature to the global heat budget it is monitored  as an essential climate variable (ECV).

Sea surface temperature data is also used to improve scientists’ understanding of the ocean surface layer, upper ocean variability, energy transfer, and air-sea interactions.

Other important areas of research include developing a better understanding of the impact of changes in the temperature of the ocean surface over the course of the day and changes between the temperature at the ocean surface and the depths below.

SST data is also used to help manage marine ecosystems, for example to identify frontal areas with large congregations of fish or monitor coral bleaching events, and also for travel and tourism.

    Examples of Sea Surface Temperature Data

  • Global, Arctic and Antarctic SST
    Courtesy of
    the GHRSST Project
  • Global SST from EUMETSAT's polar orbiting Metop satellites
    SST varies from around -1.8°C near the edge of the polar sea ice to about 30°C near the equator
  • Sentinel-3 SLSTR Level-1b channel S8 (10.8microns), 9 Nov, over the Red Sea.
    Shows thermal signature of land surfaces and sea temperature.
    Copyright: Copernicus Data

 Access SST data via EUMETSAT and/or CMEMS.


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