Satellite Data on Ocean Waves

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The GlobWave project from the European Space Agency consolidates data on ocean waves from 11 different satellite instruments that have been in orbit since 1985.  The data includes satellite-based measures of wave height, wave length and direction of ocean swell systems.  Access to the SAR and Altimeter data sets is available in both real time and delayed mode with data dating back to 1985 with GEOSAT.

The GlobWave satellite products give a “uniform” set of along track satellite wave data from all available Altimeters (spanning multiple space agencies) and from ESA Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data.

The ESA’s goal in making the data easily available is for the forecasting of the state of the world’s oceans to benefit the shipping, offshore and coastal engineering, management of coastal zones, and tourism industries.

Safety and financial losses associated with rough seas are a real concern. Ocean waves slow down the passage of ships, endanger marine industries such as oil and gas extraction, damage aquaculture and offshore wind farms, and erode coastlines.


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The data is available for free from the GlobWave portal.

Through ESA's GlobWave project, synthetic aperture radar data are being used to analyse the occurrence of long waves in the global ocean. Credits: GlobWave

Through ESA’s GlobWave project, synthetic aperture radar data are being used to analyse the occurrence of long waves in the global ocean. Credits: GlobWave


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