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Satellite Monitors Weather at Sea

EuroPhotonics
Mar 2008
GUILDFORD, UK -- A satellite signal reflected off the ocean surface has successfully been recaptured in orbit, a technology that could allow remote-sensing satellites to determine weather conditions at sea.

The University of Surrey and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. jointly conducted the GPS reflectometry experiment, which involved a UK-DMC satellite that was launched in 2003. Last November, 20 s of data were captured in orbit above the Arafura Sea, north of Australia, and were downloaded for processing. The shape of the reflection provided an indication of the sea’s roughness and, hence, the weather at that place and time.

Satellite.jpg
Researchers used a satellite signal reflected off the ocean surface to determine weather conditions at sea.

Improvements to the system eventually could be used to warn mariners of pending storms and to provide data for global climate change models. The technology also potentially could be used to detect tsunamis.

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