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ESA Sea Surface Temperature Climate Change Initiative (SST_cci): Obs4MIPS monthly-averaged sea surface temperature data, v2.1

Update Frequency: Not Planned
Latest Data Update: 2021-02-16
Status: Completed
Online Status: ONLINE
Publication State: Citable
Publication Date: 2021-02-25
DOI Publication Date: 2021-02-25
Download Stats: last 12 months
Dataset Size: 2 Files | 42MB


This dataset contains monthly 1 degree averages of sea surface temperature data in Obs4MIPS format, from the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Climate Change Initiatve (CCI) Sea Surface Temperature (SST) v2.1 analysis.

The data covers the period from 1981-2017, with the data from 1981 to 2016 coming from the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) project of the ESA CCI project. The data for 2017 were generated using the same approach but under funding from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

This particular product has been generated for inclusion in Obs4MIPs (Observations for Model Intercomparisons Project), which is an activity to make observational products more accessible for climate model intercomparisons.

Data are made freely and openly available under a Creative Commons License by Attribution (CC By 4.0)

When citing this dataset please also cite the associated data paper: Merchant, C.J., Embury, O., Bulgin, C.E., Block T., Corlett, G.K., Fiedler, E., Good, S.A., Mittaz, J., Rayner, N.A., Berry, D., Eastwood, S., Taylor, M., Tsushima, Y., Waterfall, A., Wilson, R., Donlon, C. Satellite-based time-series of sea-surface temperature since 1981 for climate applications, Scientific Data 6:223 (2019).

Citable as:  Merchant, C.J.; Good, S.A.; Embury, O. (2021): ESA Sea Surface Temperature Climate Change Initiative (SST_cci): Obs4MIPS monthly-averaged sea surface temperature data, v2.1. Centre for Environmental Data Analysis, 25 February 2021. doi:10.5285/5e5da31f2ae047b997ddbbdd372d31cd.
Abbreviation: Not defined
Keywords: SST, ESA Climate Change Initiative


Previous Info:
No news update for this record
Previously used record identifiers:
No related previous identifiers.
Access rules:
Public data: access to these data is available to both registered and non-registered users.
Use of these data is covered by the following licence: When using these data you must cite them correctly using the citation given on the CEDA Data Catalogue record.
Data lineage:

Data were processed by the ESA CCI SST project team and supplied to the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) for archiving in the context of the ESA CCI Open Data Portal project and the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO). The data for 2017 were generated using the same approach but under funding from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

Data Quality:
As provided by the CCI SST team
File Format:
Data are in NetCDF format

Process overview

This dataset was generated by the computation detailed below.

Derivation of the ESA CCI SST v2.1 Obs4MIPS format data


The Obs4MIPs dataset produced from the ESA Climate Change Initiatve Sea Surface Temperature v2.1 analysis, has been obtained from post-processing of >4 trillion individual skin sea surface
temperature (SST-skin) retrievals from infra-red imagery of sensors on Earth observing

The main post-processing steps are:
1) the addition to the SST-skin of adjustments to daily-mean SST at a nominal depth of
20 cm, resulting in an estimate of “SST-depth”
2) the uncertainty-weighted combination of SST-depth values from all the sensors to
make a daily-gap-free SST analysis at 0.05 degree latitude-longitude resolution
3) the averaging and uncertainty propagation from the daily SST analysis to monthly 1 degree

In the processing, ERA-Interim fields are used as ancillary information with minimized
influence on the SST outcome. Consistent fields of sea ice fraction and sea fraction are also
provided. The sea ice fraction is obtained from the Ocean and Sea-Ice Satellite Application
Facility [and the sea fraction accounts for ice from the same product and also the
presence or not of land in the cell, determined from a surface classification dataset.

For a high-level description of the processing steps see Merchant et al, 2019

Input Description


Output Description


Software Reference


  • units: degC
  • standard_name: sea_surface_temperature
  • var_id: tos
  • long_name: Sea Surface Temperature
  • names: sea_surface_temperature, Sea Surface Temperature
  • var_id: lat_bnds
  • var_id: lon_bnds
  • var_id: time_bnds

Co-ordinate Variables

  • units: degrees_north
  • standard_name: latitude
  • var_id: lat
  • long_name: Latitude
  • names: latitude, Latitude
  • units: degrees_east
  • standard_name: longitude
  • var_id: lon
  • long_name: Longitude
  • names: longitude, Longitude
  • long_name: time
  • standard_name: time
  • var_id: time
  • names: time
Temporal Range
Start time:
End time:
Geographic Extent