Sea surface temperatures and currents

Sea surface temperatures

The temperature of the sea surface (known as sea surface temperature or SST) is an important physical attribute of the ocean with wide-ranging impacts for marine activities and ecosystems, and our climate.

Information about sea surface temperatures can be used for planning activities such as fishing and swimming, as well as biodiversity tracking, climate monitoring, and fisheries management.

Temperatures may be influenced in the short or long-term by a variety of factors including latitude, time of year, water depth, currents, and climate patterns. Read more.

Daily, weekly and monthly analyses of sea surface temperatures, including anomalies, are available here. Analyses are estimates of the sea surface temperature as it is now. They are based almost entirely on observations, where values are interpolated to cover any gaps. Anomaly maps display differences from normal conditions (based on climatology).

7-day sea surface temperatures forecasts are available in the Ocean Forecast Map Viewer. These forecasts are calculated using a full 3D ocean model.

Sea surface temperature


Ocean currents describe the movement of water from one location to another. They mix our oceans by transporting water long distances and re-distributing heat, salt, oxygen, and nutrients.

Currents have a major impact on weather and climate, and the biological characteristics of the waters through which the currents flow. They also have significant impact on human activities such as fishing and boating.

Ocean currents can be generated by large-scale surface winds, density differences in water masses (caused by differences in temperature and salinity), and gravity. Short-term events such as earthquakes can also create changes in currents. The direction of the current is influenced by the earth’s rotation, bathymetry (depth and shape of the sea floor), the shape of coasts, and position of other currents.

7-day forecasts for currents are available in the Ocean Forecast Map Viewer. Importantly, the speed of currents in the Ocean Forecast Map Viewer does not include currents due to tidal flow. Predicted tide heights and times are available in the Tide Portal.

Sea surface currents

More information