NOAA 2006-059
Contact: John Leslie
NOAA News Releases 2006
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NOAA, working in partnership with NASA, announced today that it is enabling continued access to satellite ocean data from a key sensor onboard the OrbView-2 satellite, operated by GeoEye, Corporation. Data from the Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) has helped scientists understand climate trends and climate variability, including the El Niño and La Niña cycle. The data are also used to evaluate the impacts of hurricanes and other severe storms that impact coastal areas.

Through existing agreements with GeoEye and NASA, NOAA will – for the first time – provide $500,000 to continue the collection of SeaWiFS data, including global coverage at four kilometers and contiguous U.S. coverage at one kilometer. This activity is consistent with the U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing Space Policy, the presidential policy that encourages the U.S. Government to utilize U.S. commercial remote sensing space capabilities to meet imagery and geospatial needs. NASA will continue to support mission operations and science data analysis of the SeaWiFS data, as well as provide access to resulting data products for Earth science research.

Regional data for the U.S. area will be merged from multiple receiving stations, simplifying access to the information. This type of access will improve the quality of NOAA’s use of SeaWiFS for real-time operations, such as detecting harmful algal blooms. Each year, the U.S. economic impact of harmful algal blooms average $49 million, according to economic statistics.

Launched in August 1997, SeaWiFS data comprise the longest continuous record of global ocean information including biology and biogeochemical properties. NOAA support will extend access to higher resolution SeaWiFS data for local U.S. waters until September 2006, and global data until April 2007.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 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. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, 61 countries and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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