Reynolds and Smith 1994 Monthly AOI SST climatology

This climatology has been derived from monthly optimum interpolation (OI) SST analyses with an adjusted base period of 1950-79. A complete paper on the SST climatology has been prepared and sent to the Journal of Climate. A copy of the paper can be found here.

The climatology is here.


In response to the development of a new higher resolution sea surface temperature (SST) analysis at the National Meteorological Center (NMC), a new monthly 1-degree global sea surface temperature climatology was constructed from two intermediate climatologies: the 2-degree SST climatology presently used at NMC and a 1-degree SST climatology derived from the new analysis. The 2-degree SST climatology used a 30-year 1950-79 base period between roughly 40S and 60N based on in situ (ship and buoy) SST data supplemented by 4 years (1982-85) of satellite SST retrievals. The 1-degree SST climatology was based on monthly analyses using in situ SST data, satellite SST retrievals, and sea-ice coverage data over a 12-year period (1982-93). The final climatology was combined from these two products so that a 1-degree resolution was maintained and the base period was adjusted to the 1950-79 period wherever possible (approximately 40S and 60N). Compared to the 2-degree climatology, the 1-degree climatology resolves equatorial upwelling and fronts much better. This leads to a better matching of the scales of the new analysis and climatology. In addition, because the magnitudes of large-scale features are consistently maintained in both the older 2-degree and the new 1-degree climatologies, climate monitoring of large-scale anomalies will be minimally affected by the analysis change. The use of 12 years of satellite SST retrievals makes this new climatology useful for many additional purposes because its effective resolution actually approaches 1-degree everywhere over the global ocean and because the mean SST values are more accurate south of 40S than climatologies without these data.

The paper should be referenced as: Reynolds, R. W. and T. M. Smith, 1994: A high resolution global sea surface temperature climatology. J. Climate, (submitted).

Richard W. Reynolds (INTERNET:
Diane C. Stokes (INTERNET:

Coupled Model Project W/NMCx3
National Meteorological Center
World Weather Building, Room 807
5200 Auth Road
Camp Springs, MD 20746 USA
PHONE: (301) 763-8396