MODIS Aqua Level 3 SST Thermal IR Monthly 9km Daytime V2019.0
DescriptionDay and night spatially gridded (L3) global NASA skin sea surface temperature (SST) products from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard the Aqua satellite. Average daily, weekly (8 day), monthly and annual skin SST products at are available at both 4.63 and 9.26 km spatial resolution. Aqua was launched by NASA on May 4, 2002, into a sun synchronous, polar orbit with a daylight ascending node at 13:30, 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. To generate the L3 products the L2 pixels are binned into an integerized sinusoidal area grid (ISEAG) and mapped into an equidistant cylindrical (also known as Platte Carre projection. Additional projection detailed can be found at The NASA MODIS L3 SST data products are generated by the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG) and Peter Minnett and his team at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) are responsible for sea surface temperature algorithm development, error statistics and quality flagging. JPL acquires MODIS ocean L3 SST data from the OBPG and is the official Physical Oceanography Data Archive (PO.DAAC) for SST. The R2019.0 supersedes the previous v2014.1 datasets which can be found at
Dataset TypeACTIVE
Processing Level3
CoverageRegion: GLOBAL
North Bounding Coordinate: 90 degrees
South Bounding Coordinate: -90 degrees
West Bounding Coordinate: -180 degrees
East Bounding Coordinate: 180 degrees
Time Span: 2002-Jul-01 to Present
Granule Time Span: 2002-Jul-01 to 2021-Feb-01
ResolutionSpatial Resolution: 0.083 degrees (Latitude) x 0.083 degrees (Longitude)
Temporal Resolution: 1 Month
ProjectionProjection Type: Gridded
Projection Detail: Equidistant Cylindrical
Ellipsoid: WGS 84
Name: Earth Observing System, AQUA (Aqua)
Orbit Period: 98.4 minutes
Inclination Angle: 98.1 degrees
Name: Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
Swath Width: 2330.0 kilometers
Description: Spacecraft angular distance from orbital plane relative to the Equator.

ProjectEarth Observing System (EOS)
Data ProviderPublisher: OBPG
Creator: NASA OBPG
Release Place: OBPG, Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD,US
Release Date: 2020-Jan-15

Keyword(s)OBPG, MODIS, Aqua, ssst, thermal IR, level 3, monthly, 9km, daytime, v2019.0
Questions related to this dataset? Contact
Citation NASA OBPG. 2020. MODIS Aqua Global Level 3 Mapped SST. Ver. 2019.0. PO.DAAC, CA, USA. Dataset accessed [YYYY-MM-DD] at

Download Citation

For more information see Data Citations and Acknowledgments.

Journal Reference Werdell, P.J., B.A. Franz, S.W. Bailey, G.C. Feldman and 15 co-authors (2013). Generalized ocean color inversion model for retrieving marine inherent optical properties, Applied Optics 52, 2019-2037.
VersionDatasetVersion DateStatus
2014.0MODIS Aqua Level 3 SST Thermal IR Monthly 9km Daytime v2014.02015-03-02RETIRED1425336794577
2019.0MODIS Aqua Level 3 SST Thermal IR Monthly 9km Daytime V2019.02015-03-02ACTIVE1425336794577