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Ocean color data is a vital data resource for a wide variety of oceanographic research, Earth science, rand related applications. This page provides an overview of some of the ways that ocean color data and related data types have been used (or may be used). Some of these applications may surprise you!

Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting System

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting System utilizes ocean color data in conjunction with meteorological data and field sampling to forecast the development and movement of harmful algal blooms (commonly referred to as "red tides") in the Gulf of Mexico.

MODIS Detects a Devastating Algal Bloom in Paracas Bay, Peru

MODIS observes a harmful algal bloom (PDF) that cost over $27 million in lost fisheries revenue.

Tracking Dust Storms

Although the topic of "ocean color" is primarily about the ocean , these instruments also observe events in the atmosphere because they have to peer through the atmosphere to view the water surface. Clouds of dust from massive dust storms can be tracked for thousands of miles.

Muddy Waters (Monitoring Water Quality in Lakes)

Using data from ocean color instruments, scientists can monitor water quality and changes in turbidity.

Observing the Foraging Habits of Sea Turtles

By tracking sea turtles with satellite transmitters (PDF), and then analyzing their movements against ocean color data, scientists determine that turtles can generally be found where chlorophyll is at a certain concentration. The turtles don't know that, of course -- that just happens to be where the jellyfish are, too.

Linking Agricultural Practices to Phytoplankton Blooms

Ocean color data indicate that when Mexican farmers add fertilizer to the fields, the fertilizer flows to the ocean and triggers phytoplankton growth in the Gulf of California.

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Last updated: Sep 09, 2009 02:24 PM ET