I never really liked dealing with these charts.
They were even less revealing than upper atmosphere charts AFAIWC. …
Originally posted by Earth Observatory (Edited):
Sea surface temperature maps are based on observations by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The satellite measures the temperature of the top millimeter of the ocean surface.
Every 3 to 7 years some of the Pacific Ocean along the equator warms by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius, causing heavy rainfall in the southern United States and severe drought in Australia, Indonesia, and southern Asia. Ocean temperatures influence the development of tropical cyclones.
The most obvious pattern is the year-round difference in temperatures between equatorial regions and the poles.
Various warm and cool currents stand out in monthly averages. A band of warm water moves up the East Coast of the United States and veers across the North Atlantic: the Gulf Stream.
Short-lived weather events tend to disappear in monthly averages but a few show up:
In December 2003 Tehuano winds blew south-west from the Gulf of Mexico over Central America toward the Pacific Ocean, driving surface waters away from the coast, allowing cold water to well up.