Every day our oceans absorbs vast amounts of energy from the sun. The heat is moved through the ocean with a large scale circulation processes, fast-moving currents and small whirling eddies. Not only does the heat that's stored in the ocean affect inhabitants but it also greatly influences the atmosphere above including Earth's weather and climate.
Satellites have the capabilities to monitor the temperature of the ocean surface, which is also known as "Sea Surface Temperature" [SST]. The measurements are used by meteorologists for weather prediction, fishermen to identify fishing grounds and navigators to visualize currents.
The image is generated on a daily basis using SST data from a variety of polar-orbiting and geostationary environmental satellites from NOAA and partners, including GOES, POES, Meteosat, and Metop-A. The data is processed daily and has a spatial resolution of about 11 km/pixel. The colorscale uses blues to show the cold waters, red and orange to show hot waters, and yellow and white to show temperate waters. Major currents can be seen as snaking areas of warm or cool waters and surrounded by areas of greatly different temperatures. For example the Gulf Stream along the United States East Coast is much warmer than the surrounding waters.