General Information on SST Charts

Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Charts for your given area will provide you with a wealth of information so that you will be able to plan an intelligent strategy to make the best use of your time and resources.  The commercial fishing industry is keenly aware that environmental variability, such as upwelling, ocean eddies and fronts affect their operations and catch per unit effort (CPUE). SST charts will enable you to track,monitor and predict these developments so as to compliment the information and knowledge you already have.

The SST charts are best used as a preparation tool and are there to compliment your onboard equipment which you are using to view the oceans bottom structure and the location of the actual schools of fish.

Some of the main advantages of SST charts are:

1).An inexpensive way of improving your overall catch rate and giving you an advantage over your competitors.

2).As a guide to aggregations of fish that form at temperature fronts.

3).Eliminate guesswork by helping to determine what locations to fish and even more importantly, cost and time wise, what locations to avoid.

4).Allow for forward planning and intelligent strategies that make the best use of your time and resources.

All SST charts are prepared  from data downloaded in realtime from passing NOAA Satellites. For the  convenience of the data users we use the very early morning passes (approximately 5 to 6 am) to prepare our various charts, which are available from 9-10 am every morning. This ensures the user has the latest data available for routing decisions.  The previous afternoon's image will be used when morning images contain too much cloud or fog. The raw data is processed and georeferenced to a mecator projection and the clouds have been masked out (i.e. They appear white). The data we use has a resolution of 1100m, which allows for temperatures to be determined to better than 1 degree Celsius accuracy. Due to the resolution and temperature accuracy, SST fronts are clearly discernible, which is often not the case with other data due to resolution problems.

The SST charts are prepared using the 3 thermal infra-red wavelengths of night time/early morning imagery.  While this resolves temperature to higher accuracy, it makes for the identification of lower clouds and fog very complex and often not fully reliable. Two tests are applied to identify most clouds which are then simply coloured "white" in the chart.  Fog on the west coast in particular and on the east coast on occasion can sometimes appear coloured as if it were  a sea surface temperature, but such misidentifications are identified and mentioned in the summary that accompanies the image.

The images are mailed as an attachment to an e-mail, these are always in Acrobat Portable Document Format (.pdf) and you will need acrobat reader to view it. If you do not have acrobat reader it is free and available from, should you have any problems with the download we can supply it on a CD for you. The advantages of acrobat format is that it is truly portable, with file sizes being a fraction of the size of any other format. The image will print on a single A4 sheet of paper in portrait for west coast images and landscape in east coast image. Further the reader allows for easy viewing with all the necessary functions.