GHRSST Level 2P Global Sea Surface Skin Temperature from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the NASA Aqua satellite (GDS2)
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Short NameMODIS_A-JPL-L2P-v2019.0
DescriptionNASA produces skin sea surface temperature (SST) products from the Infrared (IR) channels of the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard the Aqua satellite. Aqua was launched by NASA on May 4, 2002, into a sun synchronous, polar orbit with a daylight ascending node at 1:30 pm, formation flying in the A-train with other Earth Observation Satellites (EOS), to study the global dynamics of the Earth atmosphere, land and oceans. MODIS captures data in 36 spectral bands at a variety of spatial resolutions. Two SST products can be present in these files. The first is a skin SST produced for both day and night (NSST) observations, derived from the long wave IR 11 and 12 micron wavelength channels, using a modified nonlinear SST algorithm intended to provide continuity of SST derived from heritage and current NASA sensors. At night, a second SST product is generated using the mid-infrared 3.95 and 4.05 micron wavelength channels which are unique to MODIS; the SST derived from these measurements is identified as SST4. The SST4 product has lower uncertainty, but due to sun glint can only be used at night. MODIS L2P SST data have a 1 km spatial resolution at nadir and are stored in 288 five minute granules per day. Full global coverage is obtained every two days, with coverage poleward of 32.3 degree being complete each day. The production of MODIS L2P SST files is part of the Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST) project and is a joint collaboration between the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG), and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). Researchers at RSMAS are responsible for SST algorithm development, error statistics and quality flagging, while the OBPG, as the NASA ground data system, is responsible for the production of daily MODIS ocean products. JPL acquires MODIS ocean granules from the OBPG and reformats them to the GHRSST L2P netCDF specification with complete metadata and ancillary variables, and distributes the data as the official Physical Oceanography Data Archive (PO.DAAC) for SST. The R2019.0 supersedes the previous R2014.0 datasets which can be found at
Dataset TypeOPEN
Processing Level2
CoverageRegion: Global
Northernmost Latitude: 90 degrees
Southernmost Latitude: -90 degrees
Westernmost Longitude: -180 degrees
Easternmost Longitude: 180 degrees
Time Span: 2002-Jul-04 to Present
Granule Time Span: 2002-Jul-04 to 2020-Aug-10
ResolutionSpatial Resolution: 1 km (Along) x 1 km (Across)
ProjectionType: Satellite native swath
Detail: Geolocation information included for each pixel
Ellipsoid: WGS 84
Latency6 hours
Swath Width2330000 m
Sample Frequency-
Temporal Repeat (Nominal)12 Hour
Temporal Repeat (Min)2 Hour
Temporal Repeat (Max)26 Hour
Name: Earth Observing System, AQUA (Aqua)
Orbit Period: 98.4 minutes
Inclination Angle: 98.1 degrees
Ascending Node: 2002-May-04 13:30:00
Name: Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
Swath Width: 2330 km
Description: The MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument provides high radiometric sensitivity (12 bit) in 36 spectral bands ranging in wavelength from 0.4 m to 14.4 m. It is used for observing processes occurring on the land, in the oceans, and in the lower atmosphere.

ProjectGroup for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST)
Data ProviderCreator: JPL/OBPG/RSMAS
Release Place: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CA, USA
Release Date: 2020-Jan-15
Resource: Information on the the MODIS SST algorithm can be found in the following documents: and
Keyword(s)GHRSST, L2P, SST, MODIS, AQUA, JPL, OBPG, V2019.0
Questions related to this dataset? Contact
User's Guide
GDS2 User Manual
Documentation on the GDS version 2 format specification
Project Materials
MODIS Longwave SST
Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document
Data Quality Flag
OBPG Data Quality Flag description page
R2019 SST Updates
Release Notes
Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document
MODIS Shortwave SST
Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document
Additional Sites
GHRSST Project Homepage
GHRSST Project Office homepage
Help Page
PO.DAAC Forum Page
Citation JPL/OBPG/RSMAS. 2020. GHRSST Level 2P Global Sea Surface Skin Temperature from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the NASA Aqua satellite (GDS2). Ver. 2019.0. PO.DAAC, CA, USA. Dataset accessed [YYYY-MM-DD] at

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For more information see Data Citations and Acknowledgments.

Journal Reference Information on the the MODIS SST algorithm can be found in the following documents: and