EPA Science Inventory

Moderate-resolution sea surface temperature data for the Arctic Ocean Ecoregions

Citation:

Payne, M., D. A. Reusser, AND H. LEE, II. Moderate-resolution sea surface temperature data for the Arctic Ocean Ecoregions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-12/037, 2012.

Description:

Sea surface temperature (SST) is an important environmental characteristic in determining the suitability and sustainability of habitats for marine organisms. Of particular interest is the fate of the Arctic Ocean, which provides critical habitat to commercially important fish (Mueter and Norcross, 2002; Stram and Evans, 2009). A poleward-advancing trend of warming temperatures in the Arctic has been recorded over the last few decades (Corell, 2006; IPCC, 2007). This poses an intriguing problem for future research of Arctic environments—one that will require examination of long-term SST records. This publication describes and provides access to an easy-to-use Arctic SST dataset for ecologists, biogeographers, oceanographers, and other scientists conducting research on habitats and/or processes in the Arctic Ocean. The data cover the Arctic ecoregions as defined by the "Marine Ecoregions of the World" (MEOW) biogeographic schema developed by The Nature Conservancy as well as the region to the north from approximately 46 °N to about 88 °N (constrained by the season and data coverage). The data span a 29-year period – from September 1981 to December 2009. These SST data were derived from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instrument measurements that had been compiled into monthly means at 4 km grid cell spatial resolution. The processed data files are available in ArcGIS geospatial datasets (raster and point shapefiles) and are also provided in text (.csv) format. All data except the raster files include attributes identifying latitude/longitude coordinates, and realm, province, and ecoregion as defined by the MEOW classification schema. A seasonal analysis of these Arctic ecoregions reveals a wide range of SSTs experienced throughout the Arctic, both over the course of an annual cycle and within each month of that cycle. Sea ice distribution plays a major role in SST regulation in all Arctic ecoregions.

Purpose/Objective:

Scientists from the USGS and WED have compiled and analyzed an important data set of sea surface temperature patterns for the Arctic Ocean. Sea surface temperature (SST) helps determine the suitability and future sustainability of habitats for marine organisms. A poleward-advancing trend of warming temperatures in the Arctic has been recorded over the last few decades. The Arctic Ocean provides critical habitat to a number of commercially important fish and it is important to be able to project possible impacts of Arctic Ocean temperature changes on these and other species. This report provides an easy-to-use Arctic SST dataset useful for ecologists, biogeographers, oceanographers, and other scientists conducting research on habitats and/or processes in the Arctic Ocean. The data span a 29-year period – from September 1981 to December 2009 and were derived from satellite instrument measurements that were compiled into monthly means at a resolution of 4 km. Analysis of these Arctic ecoregions reveals that a wide range of SSTs are experienced across the Arctic, both at monthly and annual time frames. Sea ice distribution plays a major role in regulation of SST in all Arctic ecoregions.

URLs/Downloads:

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (ASSESSMENT DOCUMENT)
Start Date: 03/01/2012
Completion Date: 03/01/2012
Record Last Revised: 12/12/2012
Record Created: 05/15/2012
Record Released: 05/15/2012
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 243451

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

PACIFIC COASTAL ECOLOGY BRANCH