Atlas of Regional Seas detailed in new paper

The SST Atlas of Australian Regional Seas (SSTAARS) is available via the AODN Portal, and has described in a recent paper.

SSTAARS uses 25 years of de-biased and tightly navigated sea surface temperature data to underpin a unique seasonal Atlas of the Australasian Seas. The sea surface temperature data the Atlas uses is the IMOS daily night-only Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) L3S data produced by the Satellite Remote Sensing Facility.

The Atlas has a spatial resolution of ~2 km and thus reveals unprecedented detail of regional oceanographic phenomena, including tidally-driven entrainment cooling over shelves and reef flats, wind-driven upwelling, shelf winter water fronts, cold river plumes, the footprint of the seasonal boundary current flows and standing mesoscale features in the major offshore currents.

IMOS Director Tim Moltmann says, “The new atlas of Australian regional seas based on satellite Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is a great new product that we believe will have wide utility.”

“We are particularly grateful to the ‘SSTAARS’ team that undertook this work. They started with a problem to solve for a specific project, but decided to implement a solution that required a lot more work but produced a much bigger, better product for the whole community. It is this spirit of collaboration that makes IMOS so successful.”

The percentiles of daily anomalies from the climatology by month allows a quantification of how unusual SST conditions are in near real-time, as is being routinely done at IMOS OceanCurrent The new paper describes a case study that used SSTAARS to examine an unusual sea surface temperature event that occurred in the waters off far eastern Victoria in March 2017, resulting in a mass fish die-off.

The Atlas will provide a benchmark for high-resolution ocean modelers and be a resource for ecosystem studies where temperatures, and their extremes, impact on ocean chemistry, species ranges and distribution.

The paper was authored by researchers from CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Australian Institute of Marine Science, NIWA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

To read the full paper:

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SSTAARS climatology map on the IMOS OceanCurrent website.