Satellite data for ocean biology, biogeochemistry, and climate research



Understanding how the effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and higher surface temperatures cascade through the ocean's physical and biogeochemical systems is a major theme of NASA's Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program, and this requires decadal time series of accurate global satellite measurements of key marine biological properties, such as phytoplankton chlorophyll a concentration. Such time series have been a primary NASA objective since the mid-1980s when the results from the Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS),a proof-of-concept program (sparse global coverage with a limited post-launch validation program), demonstrated that space-based retrievals of ocean water-leaving radiances (Lw's) and chlorophyll a concentrations were sufficiently accurate for quantitative research.