NOAA AVHRR Pathfinder Version 5.3 Collated Global 4km Sea Surface Temperature

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The AVHRR Pathfinder Version 5.3 Sea Surface Temperature dataset (PFV53) is a collection of global, twice-daily 4km sea surface temperature data produced in a partnership by the NOAA National Oceanographic Data Center and the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. PFV53 was computed from data from the AVHRR instruments on board NOAA's polar orbiting satellite series using an entirely modernized system based on SeaDAS. PFV53 data are nearly 100% compliant with the GHRSST Data Specification Version 2.0 for L3C products and only deviate from that standard in that 'sses_bias', 'sses_standard_deviation', and 'sst_dtime' variables are empty and hence not included into EE assets. PFV53 data were collected through the operational periods of the NOAA-7 through NOAA-19 Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES), and are available from 1981 to 2014. Additional information is available at the NOAA Pathfinder site.

Additional band details can be found in the Tech Specs page.

These data were provided by GHRSST and the US NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). This project was supported in part by a grant from the NOAA Climate Data Record (CDR) Program for satellites.


4000 meters


Name Units Min Max Scale Offset Description
sea_surface_temperature K -300* 3999* 0.01 273.15

Skin temperature of the ocean

dt_analysis K -127* 127* 0.1

The difference between this SST and the previous day's.

wind_speed m/s 0* 47*

These wind speeds were created by NCEP-DOE Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP-II) reanalysis (R-2) and represent winds at 10 meters above the sea surface.

sea_ice_fraction 8* 100* 0.01

Sea ice concentration data are taken from the EUMETSAT Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facility (OSISAF) Global Daily Sea Ice Concentration Reprocessing Data Set when these data are available. The data are reprojected and interpolated from their original polar stereographic projection at 10km spatial resolution to the 4km Pathfinder Version 5.3 grid. When the OSISAF data are not available for both hemispheres on a given day, the sea ice concentration data are taken from the sea_ice_fraction variable found in the L4 GHRSST DailyOI SST product from NOAA/NCDC, and are interpolated from the 25km DailyOI grid to the 4km Pathfinder Version 5.3 grid.

aerosol_dynamic_indicator -127* 127* 0.01 1.1

Aerosol optical thickness (100 KM) data are taken from the CLASS AERO100 products, which are created from AVHRR channel 1 optical thickness retrievals from AVHRR global area coverage (GAC) data. The aerosol optical thickness measurements are interpolated from their original 1 degree x 1 degree resolution to the 4km Pathfinder Version 5.3 grid.

quality_level 0 5

Note, the native Pathfinder processing system returns quality levels ranging from 0 to 7 (7 is best quality; -1 represents missing data) and has been converted to the extent possible into the six levels required by the GDS2 (ranging from 0 to 5, where 5 is best). Below is the conversion table:

  • GDS2 required quality_level 5 = native Pathfinder quality level 7 == best_quality

  • GDS2 required quality_level 4 = native Pathfinder quality level 4-6 == acceptable_quality

  • GDS2 required quality_level 3 = native Pathfinder quality level 2-3 == low_quality

  • GDS2 required quality_level 2 = native Pathfinder quality level 1 == worst_quality

  • GDS2 required quality_level 1 = native Pathfinder quality level 0 = bad_data

  • GDS2 required quality_level 0 = native Pathfinder quality level -1 = missing_data

The original Pathfinder quality level is recorded in the optional variable pathfinder_quality_level.

pathfinder_quality_level 0 7

The native Pathfinder processing system quality levels, ranging from 0 to 7, where 0 is worst and 7 is best.


Used to specify the type of input SST data and pass through native flags from the input L2 SST data set.

* estimated min or max value

Image Properties

Image Properties

Name Type Description
aerosol_dynamic_indicator_offset DOUBLE

Aerosol dynamic indicator offset

aerosol_dynamic_indicator_scale DOUBLE

Aerosol dynamic indicator scale

date_created DOUBLE

Date created

day_or_night STRING

Day or night

dt_analysis_scale DOUBLE

Dt analysis scale

orbit_node STRING

Orbit node

platform STRING


principal_day_for_collated_orbits STRING

Principal day for collated orbits

principal_year_for_collated_orbits DOUBLE

Principal year for collated orbits

sea_ice_fraction_scale DOUBLE

Sea ice fraction scale

sea_surface_temperature_offset DOUBLE

Sea surface temperature offset

sea_surface_temperature_scale DOUBLE

Sea surface temperature scale


Universal unique identifier

Terms of Use

Terms of Use

NOAA data, information, and products, regardless of the method of delivery, are not subject to copyright and carry no restrictions on their subsequent use by the public. Once obtained, they may be put to any lawful use. The forgoing data is in the public domain and is being provided without restriction on use and distribution. For more information see the 'constraints' section in


  • Baker-Yeboah, S., K. Saha, D. Zhang, K. S. Casey, R. Evans, and K. A. Kilpatrick (2016). 'Pathfinder Version 5.3 AVHRR Sea Surface Temperature Climate Data Record', Fall AGU 2016 Poster (manuscript in progress)


Explore with Earth Engine

Code Editor (JavaScript)

var dataset = ee.ImageCollection('NOAA/CDR/SST_PATHFINDER/V53')
                  .filter('2014-05-01', '2014-05-14'));
var seaSurfaceTemperature ='sea_surface_temperature');
var visParams = {
  min: 0.0,
  max: 2500.0,
  palette: [
    '030d81', '0519ff', '05e8ff', '11ff01', 'fbff01', 'ff9901', 'ff0000',
Map.setCenter(-121.99, -2.11, 2);
Map.addLayer(seaSurfaceTemperature, visParams, 'Sea Surface Temperature');
Open in Code Editor