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CoastWatch Product Glossary

A glossary of terms used by our CoastWatch Product Search Tool to categorize Data Products.

Term Description Category
ABI

Advanced Baseline Imager

Instruments
ACSPO

 Advanced Clear Sky Processor for Ocean (ACSPO) is the NOAA Enterprise SST system

Processing Algorithms
AHI

Advanced Himawari Imager

Instruments
AltiKa

Ka-band Altimeter

Instruments
AMSR-E

Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS

Instruments
AMSR2

Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer - 2

Instruments
Aqua

Earth Observation System - Aqua

Platforms
Arctic and Sub-Arctic Maritime

>40°N

Product Spatial Coverages
ASCAT

Advanced Scatterometer
 

Instruments
AVHRR

Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer

Instruments
CoastWatch Global Sectors

The 24 sectors identified for file naming convention when referring to VIIRS data. 

Product Spatial Coverages
CoastWatch US Regions

Also known as the CoastWatch Regional Nodes: OceanWatch Central Pacific, PolarWatch, Great Lakes, East Coast, Atlantic OceanWatch - Caribbean - Gulf of Mexico, WaterWatch (inland rivers), West Coast

Product Spatial Coverages
Coriolis

Coriolis

Platforms
CryoSat-2

European polar region research satellite.

Platforms
DMSP

Defense Meteorological Satellite Program
 

Platforms
East Asia & Western Pacific

80E-160W
90N-90S

Product Spatial Coverages
Field Observations Product Spatial Coverages
Field Observations (In situ) Product Families
GCOM-W

Global Change Observation Mission for Water

Platforms
Geostationary Earth Orbit Satellite (GEO)

A satellite that constantly views a portion of the Earth from a fixed perspective 35,786 kilometers above the Equator, rotating with the Earth as both move through space. The current geostationary satellites operated by the United States are the GOES-R constellation.

Platform Types
Global

180W - 180E
90N - 90S

Product Spatial Coverages
GMI

GPM Microwave Imager

Instruments
GOES Imager

GOES IMAGER (GOES 12-15)
 

Instruments
GOES-East

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - East

Platforms
GOES-West

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - West
 

Platforms
GPM

Global Precipitation Measurement

Platforms
Himawari

Himawari

Platforms
HYCOM

HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model 

Models
Imager Instrument Types
JASON-2

Reference altimetry mission

Platforms
JASON-3

Altimetry reference mission

Platforms
Level 1

Data products are discrete, instrument-specific datasets containing unprocessed data at full resolution, time-referenced, and annotated with ancillary information including data quality indicators, calibration coefficients and geo-referencing parameters.

Product Processing Levels
Level 2

Level-2 data products are derived geophysical variables at the same resolution and locations as the level 1 source data. 

Product Processing Levels
Level 3

Level-3 data products which are mapped on uniform space-time grid scales, usually with some completeness and consistency

Product Processing Levels
Level 4

Level-4 data products which are model output or results from analysis of lower level data e.g.variables derived from multiple measurements.

Product Processing Levels
Lidar Instrument Types
Low Earth Orbit Satellite (LEO)

A satellite that orbits the Earth at a relatively low altitude - no greater than 2000 kilometers. All polar-orbiting satellites are in LEO.

Platform Types
Marine Buoy Platform Types
Meteosat

Meteosat
 

Platforms
MetOp

Meteorological Operational satellite - A / B / C

Platforms
MIRAS

Microwave Imaging Radiometer with Aperture Synthesis

Instruments
MOBY

Marine Optical BuoY 

Platforms
MOBY

Marine Optical BuoY

Instruments
MODIS

Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer

Instruments
MSI

Multi-Spectral Imager for Sentinel-2

Instruments
MSL12 Processing Algorithms
NOAA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - 17 / 18 / 19 / 20

Platforms
OC4 Processing Algorithms
OC4Me Processing Algorithms
Ocean Color

Radiation from the ocean surface of light in the visible wavelengths gives information about the color of the ocean. This "ocean color" (radiances) can be used to estimate chlorophyll concentration (the pigment in plants and phytoplankton responsible for photosynthesis and the dominant source of color in the open ocean) or the coefficients of light attenuation through the water column and other parameters (generally related to biological processes). In coastal areas, other biological compounds and minerals add complexity to interpretation. Clouds will block remotely sensed OC.

Product Families
Ocean Currents

Oceanic currents include the movement and transport of sea water across the world's oceans. They are driven by tides, winds, and differences in water density. 

Product Families
Ocean Heat Content

Oceanic Heat Content (OHC) is the measure of the integrated vertical temperature from the sea surface to the depth of the 26°C isotherm and computed from the altimeter-derived isotherm depths in the upper ocean relative to 20°C

Product Families
OLCI

Ocean and Land Colour Instrument

Instruments
OSCAT

OceanSat Scatterometer

Instruments
Polar (Artic/Antarctic)

60N - 90N

60S - 90S

Product Spatial Coverages
Polar Sea Ice

Both thermal and microwave sensors can be used to estimate sea ice.  The thermal method has higher spatial resolution but is impacted by clouds (e.g., VIIRS).  The microwave method is lower spatial resolution but not impacted by clouds (e.g. AMSR-2).

Product Families
Poseidon-3

Poseidon 3

Instruments
Poseidon-3B

Poseidon-3B

Instruments
Poseidon-4
Poseidon-4
Instruments
QuikSCAT

Quick Scatterometer Mission

Platforms
Radar Altimeter Instrument Types
RadarSat-2

RadarSat-2

Platforms
RADS

Radar Altimeter Database System (RADS)

Processing Algorithms
RCM

RadarSat Constellation Mission

Platforms
SAR

Synthetic Aperture Radar (C-band)

Instruments
SAR RCM

Synthetic Aperture Radar (C-band) for RadarSat constellation

Instruments
SAR-C

Synthetic Aperture Radar (C-Band)

Instruments
SARAL

Satellite with ARGOS and AltiKa

Platforms
SAROPS Processing Algorithms
ScatSat-1

ScatSat-1

Platforms
Scatterometer Instrument Types
Sea Surface Height

Satellite altimeters use active radar to observe the surface height of the ocean which is not smooth or flat. Fluid hills and valleys deviate from a reference (mean geoid) height at the ocean surface. These vertical gradients are of interest for sea level rise, storm predictions, ocean currents, ecosystem ecology and other applications.

Product Families
Sea Surface Roughness

Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery maps the surface microwave radar reflectivity at resolutions from a sub-meter to 100 m depending on the particular SAR satellite and mode. Since a radar provides its own illumination, imagery is independent of the time of day. At typical radar frequencies, SARs can image through clouds, so SARs are considered "all-weather" instruments.  Several gephysical parameters can be derived from SAR including sea surface wind speed.

Product Families
Sea Surface Salinity

The salinity of seawater at the ocean surface can be remotely sensed using microwave frequencies. Currently, this technique is valid for open ocean measurements, while recognizing decreased sensitivity for colder water. Measurements within approximately 50 km of land are biased by land contamination and less accurate. Salinity is a defining parameter for ocean dynamics and can also serve as a proxy for certain biogeochemical processes.

Product Families
Sea Surface Temperature

Satellite SST is the longest and most mature application of ocean remote sensing. Passive observations are made with infrared (IR) sensors onboard multiple polar-orbiting and geostationary platforms, and microwave sensors onboard polar platforms. The IR sensors have higher spatial (1-4km) and temporal (10-15min, onboard geostationary satellites) resolution, and superior radiometric performance.

Product Families
Sea Surface Winds

Sea Surface Winds also known as Ocean Surface Vector Winds (OSVW) for some techniques

Winds, both magnitude (speed) and direction over the ocean drive other physical and chemical processes and so are used to model dynamic earth/ocean/atmosphere coupled systems ocean and are used for marine weather forecasting. Different remote sensing techniques may be used for gathering information on ocean surface winds including active radar and passive microwave

Product Families
Seascape Classification

Identifying spatially explicit water masses with particular biogeochemical features using a model and satellite-derived measurements

Product Families
SeaWinds

SeaWinds

Instruments
Selective Acquisitions Product Spatial Coverages
Sentinel-1

Sentinel - 1A / 1B

Platforms
Sentinel-2

Sentinel - 2A / 2B

Platforms
Sentinel-3

Sentinel - 3A / 3B

Platforms
Sentinel-6

Sentinel-6

Platforms
SEVIRI

Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager

Instruments
SIRAL

SAR Interferometer Radar Altimeter

Instruments
SLSTR

Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer

Instruments
SMAP

The Soil Moisture Active Passive

Platforms
SMAP

Soil Moisture Active Passive

Instruments
SMOS

The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity

Platforms
SNPP

Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership

Platforms
Sounder Instrument Types
SRAL

Synthetic aperture Radar Altimeter

Instruments
SSMIS

Special Sensor Microwave - Imager/Sounder

Instruments
Synthetic Aperture Radar Instrument Types
Terra

Earth Observation System - Terra

Platforms
TMI

TRMM Microwave Imager

Instruments
TRMM

Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission

Platforms
True Color Imagery

Visible radiances can be combined to form images that look similar to a "photograph" of the earth and ocean from the satellite perspective.

Product Families
VIIRS

Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite

Instruments
Western Hemisphere

15W - 135W
59N - 59S

Product Spatial Coverages
WindSat

WindSat

Instruments