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Ocean Data Center

Data from several Earth observing satellite-based sensors aid researchers in their study of ocean productivity, color, and conditions. These include the Sea viewing Wide Field of view Sensor (SeaWiFs), the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). While SeaWiFs and MODIS deliver scientists spectacular imagery and data of ocean pigments, the AVHRR sensor provides measurements of ocean meteorological conditions such as sea surface temperature (SST). SST helps researchers monitor ocean water conditions at varying levels of phytoplankton productivity throughout the year.

SeaWIFS Project

Ocean Color Data Access

Our lab works with a wide variety of remote sensing data, interpreting imagery from a number of sensors and platforms. This page will provide some examples of the end products that can be created from satellite data.


This movie clip shows 5 years of sea surface temperature (SST) data from the MODIS Aqua sensor. The black line in the graph at the bottom of the screen shows the corresponding average climatology of Monterey Bay. The red line follows each sequential day of the movie clip.


MODIS chlorophyll

12 month 5 yr ave

This panel shows the average chlorphyll, as measured by MODIS, along the California coast. Data from 1997-2006 are compiled and broken into monthly averages. January is at the top left, and December is at the bottom right.


University of California Santa Cruz
Ocean Sciences Department
Santa Cruz CA 95064