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Satellites

Satellites have been used to observe the ocean since the 1970s. The satellite-based instruments listed on this page are operational instruments currently used in MyOcean products. Even more satellite observations are used by MyOcean, for climatology, reanalysis and validation purposes, from past missions or from satellites that do not deliver data in real-time.

Instrument type

Ocean parameter measured

Instrument name

Satellite

Spectroradiometer •Chlorophyll content
•Organic and mineral content
•Sea surface temperature
•Sea Ice Cover
 
MODIS

MERIS

 

Aqua (NASA, USA)
Envisat (ESA, Europe)
 
Infrared radiometer •Sea surface temperature (SST) AVHRR

AATSR
MODIS
SEVIRI
GOES
 

(NOAA, USA) + METOP (Eumetsat, Europe)
Envisat (ESA, Europe)
Aqua, Terra (NASA, USA)
MeteoSat ( Eumetsat, Europe)
(NOAA, USA)
DMSP (NASA, USA)
 
Microwave radiometer •Atmospheric water vapor content
•Atmoshperic water liquid content (cloud)
•Rain rates
•Sea-ice concentration, type, extent
•SST
•Salinity
 
SSM/I

TMI
AMSR-E
MWR
JMR, AMR
 

DMSP (NASA, USA)
TRMM (NASA, USA)
Aqua (NASA, USA) + (developed by JAXA, Japan)
Envisat (ESA, Europe)
Jason-1, Jason-2 (Cnes, France + NASA, USA)
 
Altimeter •Sea-surface height
•Ocean surface wind speed
•Wave height
•Sea ice
 
Poseidon-2
RA-2
Poseidon-3
 
Jason-1 (CNES, France + NASA, USA)
Envisat (ESA, Europe)
Jason-2 (CNES, France + NASA, NOAA, USA + Eumetsat, Europe)

 
Scatterometer •Wind speed and heading (10 m above ocean surface)
•Rain
•Sea ice concentration
 
ASCAT

 
Metop (Eumetsat, Europe)
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) •Wind
•Surface wave field
•Sea ice monitoring
 
  Radarsat-1, Radarsat-2, Canada
Envisat, Europe