The Washington Post

Beautiful new postage stamp features sea surface temperatures

The U.S. Postal Service paid tribute to the skies and then the land surface with visually stunning sets of stamps. Now, the ocean surface gets its moment to glow on envelopes everywhere. On April 22, the Postal Service introduces the “Global Forever: Sea Surface Temperatures Stamp.”


Showcasing the meandering ocean currents and their looping temperature gradients, the single, round stamp,  covers postage for a one-ounce letter to any country (to which First-Class Mail International service is available) at a cost of $1.15.

Here’s a detailed description of  the stamp from USPS:

This round stamp features a visual representation of our planet’s sea surface temperatures. It shows the Earth with North America at the center and parts of South America, Asia, and Europe just visible on the edges, surrounded by vivid bands of color throughout the oceans. The image is one frame in a 1,460-frame animation created from the output of a computer model of Earth’s climate by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. The full animation shows how the surface temperatures of the oceans vary seasonally and change over time, and how surface ocean currents and eddies transport heat and water around the globe.

This image also combines the depiction of sea-surface temperatures with visible vegetation on the land masses, an element derived from a satellite composite created by NASA.

The stamps can be pre-ordered in blocks of 4 or sheets of 10 from USPS.

The timing of the issuance of this sea surface temperature stamp could not have been better.  It’s prime time for sea surface temperatures, given the possible  development of El Niño, which is signaled by warming waters in the tropical Pacific.

Past USPS weather and environment themed stamps:

Cloudscapes (2004)


Earthscapes (2012)

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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Jason Samenow · April 9, 2014

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