CoastWatch/OceanWatch satellite data that are utilized for water quality monitoring and forecasting include ocean color, sea surface temperature, synthetic aperture radar and true color.

Ocean color is used to analyze and identify water clarity, Chlorophyll-a (as an indicator of phytoplankton biomass), algal blooms, aquatic vegetation, bottom substrate, suspended sediments and colored dissolved organic matter.

Sea surface temperature is utilized for forecasting biological occurrences of concern such as harmful algal blooms and infections diseases.

Synthetic aperture radar is typically used to detect surface oil slicks with true color imagery providing support for discriminating between surface oil slicks and floating algae.