NOAA 2004-103
Contact: John Leslie

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During a recent meeting in Corvallis, Ore., scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, the Office of Naval Research and academia discussed using data from a highly advanced imaging device – set to go onboard the next generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES-R) – to track red tides, oil spills, upwelling and other U.S. coastal water management issues more effectively. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The device, called the Hyperspectral Environment Suite, will be a major imaging instrument on the GOES-R spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch in 2012. HES will include a capability to image all U.S. coastal waters and is expected to provide critical data to resource managers and researchers studying climate, fisheries, coastal ecology and oceanography.

The scientists are part of the Coastal Ocean Applications and Science Team, which is a new effort to ensure that GOES-R data meet stringent research and application criteria to better monitor and study coastal waters.

“NOAA is working with other government agencies, academia and the private sector in efforts to build an integrated ocean observing system, a shared collection of data that the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy strongly recommends as a critical step in improving ocean and coastal resource management,” said Richard W. Spinrad, assistant administrator of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “Having the type of detailed data that the HES imaging instrument can provide is a critical component of building such a system.”

“Having the best possible management of coastal waters will have a positive impact on America’s marine economy and better protect citizens who live in coastal communities,” said Gregory W. Withee, assistant administrator of NOAA’s Satellites and Information. “The imager’s data will also provide coastal officials improved information, enabling better decisions.”

Withee pointed to a key advantage of coastal imaging from GOES spacecraft. “Because it’s stationary, GOES can stare at an area of interest for long periods, taking advantage of openings in the cloud cover to capture developments in coastal waters from start to finish.”

COAST is reviewing coastal waters imaging requirements for HES, with a goal of having a technical approach to implementing the applications a year from now. The team will also identify, develop and test new products that help NOAA achieve its operational mission in the coastal ocean.

“COAST represents a new partnership between NOAA and the scientific community. GOES-R HES will provide a fundamentally new capability to study the complex processes in our coastal oceans,” said Mark Abbott, chair of COAST and dean of the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University.

NOAA’s Satellites and Information is the nation’s primary source of space-based oceanographic, meteorological and climate data. It operates the nation’s environmental satellites, which are used for ocean and weather observation and forecasting, climate monitoring, and other environmental applications. Some of the oceanographic applications include sea-surface temperature for hurricane and weather forecasting and sea-surface heights for El Niño prediction.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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