The Sentinels are a suite of satellite missions developed to serve the operational needs of the European Copernicus program for Earth observations. NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch provides Sentinel data to US users through official arrangements with ESA, EUMETSAT and the European Commission.

Sentinel-3 is a multi-instrument mission to measure sea- and land-surface temperature, ocean and land color and sea-surface topography. Sentinel-3A was launched on 16 February 2016. Sentinel 3B is expected to launch in 2017 with the same instruments.

The Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) is based on heritage from Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS to measure visible and thermal infrared radiances, i.e., true color, ocean color and derived parameters such as chlorophyll, total suspended matter (TSM), diffuse attenuation coefficient at 490 nm (Kd(490)), absorption at 443 nm (a(443). OLCI has 21 bands at wavelengths from 400 nm to 1020 nm (400, 412, 442, 490, 510, 560, 620, 665, 674, 681, 709, 754, 779, 865, 885, 1024 nm), a spatial resolution of 300 m and a swath width of 1270 km.

See the ESA Sentinel-3 website for more information:

OLCI Level 1b (e.g., true color) and ocean color Level 2 data (e.g., radiances, chlorophyll, etc.) are generated by EUMETSAT ( and served by CoastWatch. CoastWatch also generates L3 mapped products for US Coastal regions.

See the EUMETSAT ocean data product pages for more information and links to specific documents:

(♦ - non-government website)


Key Description
Platform/Sensor Sentinel-3 / OLCI
Measurement/Products true color
DOI n/a
Short Name OLCI True Color
Sample Filename S3A_OL_1_EFR____20160831T093739_20160831T094039_20160831T114446_*.SEN3.tar
Dataset Type n/a
Processing Level Level-1B
Spatial Coverage Global
Temporal Coverage Near real-time data beginning: Level-1 Release 20 October 2016,Level-2 Release 05 July 2017
Resolution 300 m
Projection Swath
Latency 8 hours
Swath Width 1270 km
Sample Frequency n/a
Temporal Repeat Orbital 27 days
Orbital Period 101 minutes
Orbit Sun-synchronous, altitude 814.5km, inclination 98.65
Equator Crossing Time: 10:00
Data Provider NOAA CoastWatch courtesy of Copernicus Program
Keywords n/a
Formats NetCDF (tar file), HDF, PNG

Data Access

[Please acknowledge "NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch" when you use data from our site and cite the particular dataset DOI as appropriate.]