CoastWatch/OceanWatch satellite data that are utilized for monitoring and forecasting climate and weather include sea surface temperature, ocean color, sea surface winds, sea surface height and sea surface roughness.

Sea surface temperature is used in a variety weather forecasts and climate outlooks as sea surface temperature greatly impacts heat distribution and evaporation.

Ocean color the quantity of particles and phytoplankton derived from ocean color are used in weather and climate models as various particles and phytoplankton are known to absorb or reflect light, impacting ocean heat content.

Sea surface winds are an important part of marine weather reports and forecasts. Sea surface winds are also used to estimate air-sea exchanges of heat, moisture, gases and particles that impact global and regional climate and weather.

Sea surface height is used to improve forecasts of climatological events such as El Niño and La Niña. Sea surface height is also used as part of calculations of ocean heat content which is used in short an long term weather forecasts.

Sea surface roughness to identify sea ice extent and thickness for use in weather forecasting, seasonal outlooks and climate research.

Monitoring Sea Surface Winds and Sea Ice with Satellite Radar

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  Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is an active radar satellite instrument that transmits microwave pulses that bounce off the Earth’s surface. The radar signals are then processed into imagery that can be used to derive several geographic and non-geographic features including: wind speeds, oil spills, sea ice and ship detection.

Great Lakes Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook


  U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes agencies work together to document significant quarterly events, seasonal and yearly changes for the Great Lakes region and compile them into quarterly reports. NOAA Great Lakes CoastWatch data used in these bulletins includes Sea Surface TemperatureSynthetic Aperture Radar and real time marine data from buoys, coastal met stations, airports, and ships.

Improving Satellite Sea Surface Temperature Analysis


  Information about sea surface temperature is important for weather and ocean forecasting, climate monitoring, military and defense operations, ecosystem assessment, fisheries analyses and tourism operations. NOAA's Sea Surface Temperature Team is working to improve their products by reanalyzing past data with NOAA's Advanced Clear-Sky Processor for Oceans (ACSPO) using the enterprise algorithm. 


The Tongue of the Ocean


  The Tongue of the Ocean is a deep water basin in the Bahamas that is surrounded to the east, west and south by a carbonate bank known as the Great Bahama Bank. The deep blue water of the Tongue is a stark contrast to the shallow turquoise waters of the surrounding Bank.

Ocean acidification in the Caribbean


  In collaboration with the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory's Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division and NOAA Coral Reef Watch, the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico node of CoastWatch produces an ocean acidification product suite for the greater Caribbean region to track changes in the surface ocean that can be used as an important tool in coral reef research and management.


The Gulf of Mexico Loop Current


  The Gulf of Mexico loop current brings warm Caribbean water northward between the Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba and into the Gulf. The current loops around the Gulf, flows southeastward into the Florida Strait where it serves as a parent to the Florida current and ultimately joins the Gulf Stream.