Climate Data

SST data: HadiSST v1.1

The Hadley Centre Global Sea Ice and Sea Surface Temperature (HadISST) is a combination of monthly globally complete fields of SST and sea ice concentration for 1871-present. This page focuses on the SST data; see the separate page for discussion of HadISST sea ice. HadISST uses reduced space optimal interpolation applied to SSTs from the Marine Data Bank (mainly ship tracks) and ICOADS through 1981 and a blend of in-situ and adjusted satellite-derived SSTs for 1982-onwards. The "bucket correction" was applied to SSTs for 1871-1941. SSTs in boxes partially covered by sea ice were estimated from statistical relationships between SSTs and sea ice concentrations. SSTs were assigned a fixed value (-1.8°C) for areas with sea ice cover of greater than 90%. HadISST is primarily intended to be used as boundary conditions for atmospheric models. Version 1.1 is the current version.

Key Strengths:

  • Global, spatially complete data set useful as boundary conditions for AMIP experiments

Key Limitations:

  • Does not account for changes in SST measurement practices post-1941
  • Sparse data input in the polar regions; especially in the Southern Ocean. SSTs in the high polar seas also depend on the sea ice analysis, which has its own documented problems (see separate sea ice page)
  • Non-robust trends have been identified; for example equatorial Pacific trends over the 20th Century may be misrepresented due to interpolation methods (Deser et al., 2011) and/or representation of ENSO variance (Solomon and Newman, 2012)

Years of Record

1870/01 to 2015/10
temporal metadataID:




Data Time Period Extended?

yes, data set is extended


Spatial Resolution


Ocean or Land

Ocean Only

Missing Data Flag

spatially complete

Vertical Levels

Input Data

Met Office Marine Data Bank, ICOADS, GTS; AVHRR SSTs

Earth system components and main variables

Suggested Data Citation

Met Office, Hadley Centre. HadISST 1.1 - Global sea-Ice coverage and SST (1870-Present), [Internet]. NCAS British Atmospheric Data Centre, 2006, Date of citation,. Available from
NCAR RDA: "The data for this study are from the Research Data Archive (RDA) which is maintained by the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The original data are available from the RDA ( in dataset number ds277.3."
Rayner, N. A.; Parker, D. E.; Horton, E. B.; Folland, C. K.; Alexander, L. V.; Rowell, D. P.; Kent, E. C.; Kaplan, A. (2003) Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century, J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 108, No. D14, 4407 10.1029/2002JD002670

Key Figures

Click the thumbnails to view larger sizes



HadISST v1.1 SST anomalies and sea ice concentration (August 2012; source Hadley Center). HadISST v1.1 SST anomalies and sea ice concentration (August 2012; source Hadley Center).

Cite this page

National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified 08 Dec 2015. "The Climate Data Guide: SST data: HadiSST v1.1." Retrieved from

Acknowledgement of any material taken from this page is appreciated. On behalf of experts who have contributed data, advice, and/or figures, please cite their work as well.