Being vast and frequently inaccessible, oceans are arguably most effectively monitored using satellite data. Physical and biological related measurements of the ocean can provide holistic views on how they function.

Sea surface temperature

Satellites can measure ocean temperatures, supporting understanding of climate change and episodic heatwaves, and providing a core measurement for assimilation into weather forecasting and climate models.

Sea surface height

Ocean height measurements from altimeters provide insight into sea level rise, ocean currents, waves, and winds over the sea. This data can tell stories of slow climate change, natural oscillations, as well as extreme events related to storms etc.

Ocean colour

Insight into ocean biology can be gained from measurements of ocean colour from space. Ocean colour provides a view on any substance that substantially alters the colour of the surface ocean waters. In most of the ocean this is phytoplankton - the base of much of the marine food web, also playing a substantial role in oxygen, carbon and other chemical cycles.

Ocean colour frequently shows the biological response of the ocean to its physical behaviour. Also observable from the ocean colour, are changes in sediments in the ocean, impacting coastal environments. Combined, ocean colour parameters can provide useful information for a broad variety of applications around the topic of water quality.

For example visualisations, with discussions, see the oceans and sea ice visualisations section.

Get ideas on how to access and work with ocean data.

For access to Copernicus ocean data please visit the Copernicus Marine Service.

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