Sea surface temperature data are used to help us predict weather patterns, to track ocean currents, and to monitor El Niño and La Niña. Sea surface temperature influences the growth of phytoplankton, as well as precipitation patterns across continents, thus indirectly influencing land vegetation as well. (Data from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer [AVHRR]) Sensor: NOAA-15 POES/AVHRR. Data Start Date: 1/1/97. Data End Date: 5/31/03.