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.

NOAA researchers review approaches to satellite-derived coastal water quality products


  In a paper published in 2017 in Progress in Oceanography, coauthors Guanming Zheng and Paul M. DiGiacomo reviewed approaches to deriving water quality products from satellite ocean color data.  They quantify and discuss the inherent uncertainties surrounding the characterization of water quality parameters of interest in coastal waters ...


Booklet: Advanced techniques for monitoring water quality using Earth Observation


  AquaWatch, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Water Quality Initiative, presents information about water quality issues and monitoring in a variety of habitats and exemplars of water quality monitoring using archived and next generation Earth Observation data using technologies developed and exploited by researchers within the AquaWatch community.


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.