Oceanography from space in support of naval operations Academic Article uri icon


  • During the past decade, satellite remote sensing has become a powerful tool in the U.S. Navy's efforts to characterize the ocean environment in support of military operations. The Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (Fleet Numerical) and the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO), are the Navy's central sites for the receipt and processing of satellite data for meteorological and oceanographic (METOC) applications. METOC officers at regional centers, detachments, and afloat also receive and exploit a variety of satellite data. In this paper, we discuss the use of satellite data for oceanographic analysis and prediction. A wide variety of satellite-borne sensors are exploited, including foreign/civilian, visible/infrared/microwave, and passive/ active. Products from these sensors cover horizontal spatial scales, ranging from global (e.g., sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)) to local (e.g., near-shore bottom features from Landsat Thematic Mapper); encompass the vertical spatial range of sea surface, water column, and bottom features (e.g., altimetry-derived products); and characterize temporal scales, ranging from seasonal (e.g., optical climatologies from Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) imagery) to real time (e.g., ocean surface winds from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I)). We provide an overview of the sensors utilized, ground segment processing flows, products generated, and the oceanographic applications supported by satellite remote sensing at the Navy's central sites and on scene.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Rigney, J. P., Bouchard, R., Diamond, C., Berkshire, D., LHeureux, D., Conlee, D., Colton, M., & Crout, R

complete list of authors

  • Rigney, JP||Bouchard, R||Diamond, C||Berkshire, D||LHeureux, D||Conlee, D||Colton, M||Crout, R

publication date

  • March 1997