CoastWatch/OceanWatch satellite data that are utilized for marine transportation and safety include sea surface winds, sea surface roughness and sea surface height.

Sea surface winds provide information about transportation and safety hazards such as gales and other storm-related winds. Sea surface winds are also used to improve coastal surf and swell forecasts and for tsunami modeling and prediction.

Sea surface roughness is used by the marine transportation sector to monitor ocean currents, map sea floor topography and detect ships. Sea surface roughness is also used to identify ice type and thickness for ice breaking operations and shipping.

Sea surface height is used to improve tide forecasting and quantify wave height to support transportation efficiency and safety. Sea surface height is also used for global seafloor topography mapping.

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.