The temperature of the surface of the worlds oceans provides a clear indication of the state of the Earths climate and weather. The AMSR-E instrument on the Aqua satellite measures the temperature of the top 1 millimeter of the ocean every day, even through the clouds. In this visualization sequence covering the period from June, 2002, to September, 2003, the most obvious effects are the north-south movement of warm regions across the equator due to the seasonal movement of the sun and the seasonal advance and retreat of the sea ice near the North and South poles. It is also possible to see the Gulf Stream, the warm river of water that parallels the east coast of the United States before heading towards northern Europe, in this data. Around January 1, 2003, a cooler than normal region of the ocean appears just to the west of Peru as part of a La Nina and flows westward, driven by the trade winds. The waves that appear on the edges of this cooler area are called tropical instability waves and can also be seen in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean about the same time.


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