The sea surface temperature (SST) varies much more slowly than atmospheric temperatures due to the heat capacity of water. As such, the SSTs lag the atmospheric temperatures on a seasonal timescale by about 3 months. The lowest SSTs are usually observed in early Spring and the highest SSTs are observed in early Autumn.
In tropical regions, SSTs greater than 26°C are considered suitable for formation of tropical cyclones.
The data displayed in this map is the weekly average, centred on the date shown.
15:46 EDT The Australian research body the Climate Council has argued in its latest paper that the probability of drought will increase, and it will become more severe, because of climate change.