Sea surface temperature 16. August 2006.
The image is part of the project Satellite Eye for Galathea 3
from which it is possible to access current images showing sea
surface temperature in the region that the Galathea 3 expedition
What can we see?
We see large temperature variations over 25ºC from Cape
Farewell to latitude 45ºN where an arm of the Gulf Stream is
flowing towards the west (later turning towards the south).
Furthermore, we see a cool region in the Channel because strong
tidal currents pull up cold water from the bottom to the sea
surface. We also notice very large temperature gradients between
the East Greenland Current and the Norwegian Coastal Current.
Along the east coast of Greenland we can see a wedge of cold
water near the coast. This is the East Greenland Current which
has its origin in the Arctic Ocean and flows south with very
cold and relatively fresh water. The East Greenland Current
transports also ice of arctic origin, called ‘Storis’, all the
way down to the southern tip of Greenland and then northwards in
the West Greenland Current.
It is interesting to see temperature differences along the
same latitude between east and west in the North Atlantic Ocean.
You may notice several degrees difference between sea surface
temperatures near the Shetland Islands in comparison to the area
near Southern Greenland even though the two locations are
located at approximately the same latitude. This east-west
difference is caused by the North Atlantic Current originating
in the Gulf Stream and flowing east-northeast as a warm and
salty current. Thus we find sea water in the northwestern part
of the North Atlantic Ocean of arctic origin while water from
the subtropics is found at the same latitude in the northeastern
part of the North Atlantic Ocean.
The figure is constructed from satellite observations from
several different satellites. While the infrared observations
are limited by clouds, and as microwave observations have a
coarse spatial resolution, it is necessary to make an
interpolation of the data before we produce a sea surface
temperature field in high resolution without gaps. To achieve
this, the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) has developed a
method that combines satellite data from various satellites and
at various times, and use statistics to calculate a best guess
for a sea surface temperature for each 5 kilometer for the
entire North Atlantic Ocean.