Using 1.1 km resolution imagery from NOAA-12, -14, -16, and -17 recorded from April 2001 to May 2003 by "HAZO" HRTP mid-Atlantic satellite receiving station, 8-day average image are calculated to investigate AVHRR-derived SST distributions and associated dominant space and time scales around the Azores archipelago (34° to 42° N, 33° to 23° W). Eight-day average images together with zonal and meridional averages show a distinct seasonal cycle and typical gradi-ents, which emphasise the dual influence of the Gulf Stream and the Azores Current in this region. In late spring, iso-therms start moving to the north and retreat in early autumn. Low horizontal gradients are found during summertime, with warmer waters located to the south and west. Orientation of SST patterns changes with time from SW-NE (e.g. July 2001) to NNW-SSE (e.g. July 2002, August 2001 and 2002). The later orientation involves the sudden warming of the waters surrounding the northwestern group of islands of the Azores archipelago. This warming persists during 3 to 6 weeks with mean temperature differences of the order of 0.8° C. At a more local scale (2° x 2° in size) SST variability is also observed. In some cases, it is found that wind-driven coastal upwelling, a few km wide, occurs to the south of the islands during spring and summer months. Field data demonstrate that upwelling events increase local biomass. This result highlights the relevance of SST data to improve stock assessment and fishery management studies.