Oceans SST Update April 2021

Science Matters

My preferred SST dataset is HadSST3, for reasons noted at the end.  However, no new data has been provided for either February or March, so I have been looking at alternatives.  HadSST4 shows February, but nothing since.  So this post will feature ERSST5, with some comparisons with HadSST3 and notes on the differences.  First the usual contextual introduction.


The best context for understanding decadal temperature changes comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons:

  • The ocean covers 71% of the globe and drives average temperatures;
  • SSTs have a constant water content, (unlike air temperatures), so give a better reading of heat content variations;
  • A major El Nino was the dominant climate feature in recent years.

The Current Context

The various ERSST sources and history are described at the home page NOAA Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST), Version 5.  A major distinction is the practice…

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