Satellite data for ocean biology, biogeochemistry, and climate research

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Abstract

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.

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