MODIS Terra Level 3 SST Thermal IR Annual 9km Nighttime V2019.0
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DescriptionTDay and night spatially gridded (L3) global NASA skin sea surface temperature (SST) products from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard the Terra satellite. Average daily, weekly (8 day), monthly and annual skin SST products are available at both 4.63 and 9.26 km spatial resolution. Terra was launched by NASA on December 18, 1999, into a sun synchronous, polar orbit with a daylight descending node at 10:30 am, to study the global dynamics of the Earth atmosphere, land and oceans. The 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 observations, derived from the long wave IR 11 and 12 micron wavelength channels, using a modified nonlinear SST algorithm intended to provide continuity with SST derived from heritage and current NASA sensors. At night, a second SST product is produced using the mid-infrared 3.95 and 4.05 micron 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 produced 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) 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 and distributes MODIS ocean L3 SST data from the OBPG as the official Physical Oceanography Data Archive (PO.DAAC) for SST. The R2019 superseded the previous v2014.1 datasets which can be found at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: 2000-Jan-01 to Present
Granule Time Span: 2000-Feb-24 to 2021-Dec-31
ResolutionSpatial Resolution: 0.083 degrees (Latitude) x 0.083 degrees (Longitude)
Temporal Resolution: Annual
ProjectionProjection Type: Cylindrical Lat-Lon
Projection Detail: Geolocation information included for each pixel
Ellipsoid: WGS 84
Name: Earth Observing System, Terra (AM-1) (Terra)
Orbit Period: 98.8 minutes
Inclination Angle: 98.2 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: PO.DAAC
Creator: NASA OBPG
Release Place: OBPG, Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD,US
Release Date: 2020-Jan-15

Keyword(s)OBPG MODIS, Terra, sst, thermal IR, level 3, daily, 4km, daytime, v2019.0
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Format (Compression)netCDF-4
Citation NASA OBPG. 2020. MODIS Terra Global Level 3 Mapped SST. 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 Kilpatrick, K.A., G. Podestá, S. Walsh, E. Williams, V. Halliwell, M. Szczodrak, O.B. Brown, P.J. Minnett, and R. Evans. 2015. A decade of sea surface temperature from MODIS, Remote Sensing of Environment, 165.

Kilpatrick, K.A., G. Podestá, E. Williams, S. Walsh, and P. J. Minnett. 2019. Alternating Decision Trees for Cloud Masking in MODIS and VIIRS NASA Sea Surface Temperature Products, Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 36, 3.

VersionDatasetVersion DateStatus
2019.0MODIS Terra Level 3 SST Thermal IR Annual 9km Nighttime V2019.02019-12-14ACTIVE2019-12-14T04:25:30.000Z
2014.0MODIS Terra Level 3 SST Thermal IR Annual 9km Nighttime v2014.02015-03-02RETIRED1425338704344
1MODIS Terra Level 3 SST Thermal IR Annual 9km Nighttime1970-01-01RETIRED