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NOAA Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (SST) V3b

The dataset has been converted from netCDF3 to netCDF4-classic format.

Brief Description:

  • A global monthly SST analysis from 1854 to the present derived from ICOADS data with missing data filled in by statistical methods. More Details...

Temporal Coverage:

  • Monthly values for 1854/01 - present.
  • Long term monthly means, derived from data for years 1971 - 2000.
  • Long term monthly means, derived from data for years 1981 - 2010.

Spatial Coverage:

  • 2.0 degree latitude x 2.0 degree longitude global grid (89x180).
  • 88.0N - 88.0S, 0.0E - 358.0E.


  • Sea Surface

Update Schedule:

  • Variable

Download/Plot Data:

Variable Statistic Level Units Download File Create Plot/Subset
Sea Surface Temperature Monthly Mean Surface degC sst.mnmean.nc plot
Normalized Error Variance Monthly Mean Surface - err.mnmean.nc plot
Sea Surface Temperature Monthly Long Term Mean Surface degC sst.ltm.19712000.nc plot

Usage Restrictions:

  • None

Detailed Description:

  • The extended reconstructed sea surface temperature (ERSST) was constructed using the most recently available International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) SST data and improved statistical methods that allow stable reconstruction using sparse data. This monthly analysis begins January 1854, but because of sparse data the analyzed signal is heavily damped before 1880. Afterwards the strength of the signal is more consistent over time. The ERSST analysis will be updated as new data become available.

    Currently, the ERSST V3 and ERSST version 2 (ERSST.v2) are available. ERSST.v2 is an improved extended reconstruction. In the reconstruction the high-frequency SST anomalies are reconstructed by fitting to a set of spatial modes. Compared to the earlier reconstruction, version 1 (v1), the improved reconstruction better resolves variations in weak-variance regions. It also uses sea-ice concentrations to improve the high-latitude SST analysis, a modified historical bias correction for the 1939-1941 period, and it includes an improved error estimate.

    For more information see http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/ersstv3.php.


  • None

Related File Naming & Structure Information:

File Names:

  • err | sst.stat[.time].nc   (In directory: /Datasets/noaa.ersst/)

OpenDap File Names:

  • http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/thredds/dodsC/Datasets/noaa.ersst/err | sst.stat[.time].nc   

Dataset Format and Size:

  • PSD standard NetCDF ~60 Mbyte file for each monthly file.
  • PSD standard NetCDF 388 Kbyte file for each long term mean file..

Missing Data:

  • Data have been interpolated in time and space by the providers. Land points are flagged with a value of -9.96921e+36.


  • Please note: If you acquire NOAA_ERSST_V3 data products from PSD, we ask that you acknowledge us in your use of the data. This may be done by including text such as NOAA_ERSST_V3 data provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA, from their Web site at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/ in any documents or publications using these data. We would also appreciate receiving a copy of the relevant publications. This will help PSD to justify keeping the NOAA_ERSST_V3 data set freely available online in the future. Thank you!


Original Source:


  • Physical Sciences Division: Data Management
    325 Broadway
    Boulder, CO 80305-3328