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Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST.v3b)

ERSST Annual Anomaly

Fig.1. Annual ERSST.v3b anomaly from 1880-2010 from 60°S and 60°N (red solid line). Note that the data is more reliable after the 1940's. The magnitude of the temperature increase in recent decades is much greater than the uncertainty in the data.

The most recent version of the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) analysis is v3b. The analysis is based on the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) release 2.4. At the end of every month, the ERSST analysis is updated with the available GTS ship and buoy data for that month. The anomalies are computed with respect to a 1971-2000 month climatology (Xue et al. 2003).

We have been improving the analysis over time. Our older version ERSST.v2 is being discontinued. ERSST.v3 is described in Smith, T.M., R. W. Reynolds, T. C. Peterson, and J. Lawrimore, 2008: Improvements to NOAA's historical merged land-ocean surface temperature analysis (1880-2006). J. Climate, 21, 2283-2296. In ERRST.v3 satellite SST data were added to the analysis; satellite data were never in ERSST.v2. However, the addition of satellite data led to residual biases. The ERSST.v3b analysis is exactly as described in the ERSST.v3 paper with one exception: satellite SST data are not used in ERSST.v3b.

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back to ERSST options Analysis Description

ERSST.v3b is generated using in situ SST data and improved statistical methods that allow stable reconstruction using sparse data. The monthly analysis extends from January 1854 to the present, but because of sparse data in the early years, the analyzed signal is damped before 1880. After 1880, the strength of the signal is more consistent over time. ERSST is suitable for long-term global and basin wide studies; local and short-term variations have been smoothed in ERSST. For clarification, a brief explanation of the ERSST versions is provided. ERSST is also used as an input to the Merged Land Ocean Surface Temperature product.

back to ERSST options Gridded Data

We recommended that you register. In that case, we can notify you by e-mail if there are updates.

ASCII format:Monthly ERSST.
NetCDF format:Monthly NetCDF ERSST.
See also readme.status.changes.

You can also get data from NCDC NOMADS OPeNDAP Data Server.

You can now plot and extract the data using the LAS server
click choose dataset button
select NOAA Extended Reconstruction Sea Surface Temperatures
then select the dataset variable(s).
There are several options in LAS. For example "MAPS (latitude-longitude)" gives spatial gridded or plotted values at a specified time, "LINE PLOTS" gives a time series at a spatial point, and "HOFMULLER PLOTS". You can plot or extract the temperatures for a space and time range.

back to ERSST options ASCII Time Series

Monthly and annual land-ocean temperature time series are available from 1880 to present for several zonal bands via

back to ERSST options Updated Figures

Figures updated for gridded data as well as time seris data.

back to ERSST options References

Smith, T.M., and R.W. Reynolds, 2003: Extended Reconstruction of Global Sea Surface Temperatures Based on COADS Data (1854-1997). Journal of Climate, 16, 1495-1510.
Smith, T.M., and R.W. Reynolds, 2004: Improved Extended Reconstruction of SST (1854-1997). Journal of Climate, 17, 2466-2477.
Smith, T.M., R.W. Reynolds, Thomas C. Peterson, and Jay Lawrimore, 2008: Improvements to NOAA's Historical Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (1880-2006). Journal of Climate,21, 2283-2296.
Xue, Y., T. M. Smith, and R. W. Reynolds, 2003: Interdecadal changes of 30-yr SST normals during 1871-2000. J. Climate, 16, 1601-1612.

back to ERSST options Contact Information


Dick Reynolds

Tom Smith

Ron Ray

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NOAA NCDC / Satellite Data / Help