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This website supports a project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Agency’s Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Programme.
The project team will focus on the following issues relating to Sea Surface Temperature (SST):

  • Analysis of scientific requirements relating to climate
  • Development of improved scientific algorithms
  • Inter-comparison and selection of algorithms
  • System prototyping and production of SST datasets
  • Product validation and end-user assessment

More specifically, the project team will:
In Phase 1:

  • Develop and validate algorithms to meet GCOS Essential Climate Variable (ECV) requirements for (consistent, stable, error-characterized) global satellite data products from multi-sensor data archives
  • Produce and validate, within an R&D context, the most complete and consistent possible time series of multi-sensor global satellite data products for climate research and modelling
  • Optimize the impact of ESA Earth Observation (EO) missions data on climate data records
  • Generate complete specifications for an operational production system
  • Strengthen inter-disciplinary cooperation between international earth observation, climate research and modelling communities, in pursuit of scientific excellence

 In Phase 2:

  • Extend the SST CCI climate data record (CDR) to meet a key user requirement for >30 year of consistent SST
    • prior to the ATSRs (pre-1991), using harmonised AVHRR observations in the absence of a dual-view reference sensor
    • after the ATSRs (post-2012), by bridging the gap to the future dual-view reference sensor (SLSTR) using alternative approaches
    • with target accuracy (0.1k) even in periods of elevated stratospheric aerosol
  • Evolve the existing prototype system into an implementation that is:
    • sustainable in the long term (which requires an integrated system)
    • in an environment that provides the necessary performance:
      • a 'nimble' improvement cycle for reprocessing
      • capacity to store and process relevant data flows now and in the coming era of Sentinel missions
      • fully automated mutli-sensor match-up system (MMS)
      • interfaces to support interactions with users of data

In summary, Phase 2 will extent the SST time-series by at least an additional 16 years, providing for the first time a >30 year satellite record that is independent of other sources of SST prior to 1991. Assuming success, this will provide a unique, independent climate data record, and corresponding opportunities for climate model testing, climate model development, and historical NWP re-analyses.
For more details including movies, datasets and user tools, click here.