Possible rebirth of ocean color imaging



For 8 years the experimental Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Nimbus 7 satellite provided synoptic images of the distribution of chlorophyll, which is a good indicator of the biological productivity of the surface ocean. These color patterns also provided subtle information about ocean currents that could not be obtained by other means. The satellite, launched in 1978, had a nominal life of 1 or 2 years, but it continued to give useful data until summer 1986. Because of its projected short life, repeated attempts to acquire funding for another color scanner began in 1980, but higher priorities preempted all attempts to date.