A number of references are available about the surface datasets:

Shea, D.J., K.E. Trenberth, R.W. Reynolds, 1990:"A Global Monthly Sea 
   Surface Climatology", Technical Note NCAR/TN-345+STR, NCAR, Boulder, Colo.

Shea, D.J., K.E. Trenberth, R.W. Reynolds, Journal of Climate, Vol. 5 #9,
   Sept. 1992: "A Global Monthly Sea Surface Climatology"

Shea, D.J., 1986:  Climatological atlas: 1950--1979.  Surface air 
   temperature, precipitation, sea--level pressure, and sea--surface 
   temperature (45S--90N).  Technical Note NCAR/TN--269+STR, NCAR, 
   Boulder, CO, 35 pp plus 158 figures and 10 microfiche.

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