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OCEAN COLOR FROM SPACE: Introduction


These different waters may also be sometimes discernable by a difference in their colour, a contrast of shades of blue and green making a line across the sea...

If these marked colour changes can be correctly interpreted we may in the future find aircraft being used to make rapid surveys of the surface conditions in relation to the fisheries.

SIR ALISTER HARDY
The Open Sea, 1929

 

Diatoms

 

For the first time, oceanographers now have
the ability to view the global distribution of
photosynthetic organisms in the world's
oceans from space.The observations made
from the Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS),
a radiometer that operated on NASA's
Nimbus-7 satellite from 1978-1986, have
sparked a revolution in the way we think
Lauderia sp.,
marine phytoplankton
(magnification: 150x).

 

 
about physical and biological processes in the sea. Using techniques principally developed at the University of Miami and Goddard Space Flight Centers, color imageshave been produced which show the incredible variability that exists in the distribution and concentration of phytoplankton--microscopic, single-celled ocean plants that provide the ultimate source of food for marine life.The CZCS global data sets --examples of which are contained in this folder-- lay the scientific foundations for new generations of satellite ocean color sensors and have formed a cornerstone for international efforts to understand the ocean's role in the global carbon cycle.
 

 

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Last updated: Feb 25, 2013 11:30 AM ET
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