Ocean surface layer drift revealed by satellite data



Historically ocean surface feature tracking analyses have been based on data from a single orbital sensor collected over the revisit interval of a lone low-Earth orbital satellite. Today ocean surface layer currents are being derived by performing feature tracking using data from a number of sensors on different satellites. Satellite ocean color data provide important insight into the marine biosphere by quantifying certain fundamental properties—for example, phytoplankton pigment concentration and marine primary production—on a global scale. In addition, satellite ocean color data can also be used as a tracer for measuring ocean surface layer currents, because the ocean color signal comprises information from a deeper water depth, from 10 to 30 m, than surface signatures such as sea surface temperature.