NOAA NOAA CoastWatch • OceanWatch

About CoastWatch


CoastWatch NOAA

Help Desk email


(301) 683-3335


Mission Statement

NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch provides easy access for everyone to global and regional satellite data products for use in understanding, managing and protecting ocean and coastal resources and for assessing impacts of environmental change in ecosystems, weather, and climate.

Objectives

Be the interface between the users of satellite data products (and related in situ data) and satellite remote sensing science and algorithm development.

Serve interested people, researchers, forecasters, decision-makers within NOAA and beyond NOAA.

Provide data at global and regional spatial resolution.

Provide timely access to low latency data for near-real- time applications.

Provide consistent access to high quality, long term time series data for climate and ecosystem research and applications.

Produce and provide tailored products for core constituent users.

CoastWatch Organization Chart

 • (CW) CoastWatch  • (NCEI) National Center for Environmental Information  • (NESDIS) National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service  • (NMFS) National Marine Fisheries Service  • (NOS) National Ocean Service  • (OAR) Oceanic and Atmospheric Research  • (OC) Ocean Color  • (OSPO) Office of Satellite and Product Operations  • (OW) OceanWatch  • (PAL) Product Area Leads  • (PW) PolarWatch  • (SST) Sea Surface Temperature



History

NOAA CoastWatch was established in 1987 in response to two significant environmental events. A Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) event occurred off the coast of North Carolina transporting the toxic Gymnodinium breve cells from Florida via the Gulf Stream into the colder coastal waters near Cape Lookout. Also, a severe mammal die-off occurred, where more than 700 bottlenose dolphins died off the mid-Atlantic coast. Both instances prompted Federal and State officials to explore additional data sources for monitoring the coastal waters, such as near real-time satellite data.

CoastWatch has expanded from POES/AVHRR SST data for the East Coast to providing a variety of environmental data (i.e. SST, ocean color, winds, etc.) from several different satellite platforms covering all U.S. coastal waters, including Hawaii and Alaska.

Today, sea surface temperature maps support meteorological weather predictions and also support commercial and recreational activities (e.g., fishing). Biologists utilize ocean color radiometry data and derived chlorophyll-a and total suspended matter/turbidity products to identify runoff plumes and blooms and also predict HABs; and sailors and commercial shipping pilots use ocean surface vector winds for safe navigation.

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