A plot of daily sea surface temperatures from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite for August 1st, 2012. This image was produced with NASA’s Panoply visualization tool.
Ships and buoys have been recording sea surface temperatures, among many other parameters, for well over a hundred years. Through international cooperation and sharing of data between nations, these data are compiled to make a global database of sea surface temperatures with a period of record going back to the middle of the 19th century. In addition to instruments in the water, satellites are able to remotely measure many ocean parameters. With sensors onboard modern satellites, several types of measurements can be taken over the Earth's oceans. Two widely recognized parameters are sea surface temperatures and winds over ocean waters. Different satellites carry different instruments and measure different parameters. Many datasets from different satellites are available through NOMADS, each with different periods of record. Through the SST Data Access link, you can find more information on these datasets and where to access them.
A plot of global, monthly mean wind speeds and directions for September 1990. These data are from the Blended Sea Winds dataset, available through NOMADS. This image was produced with NASA’s Panoply visualization tool.