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The measurement of ocean surface movement is used in the operational planning of ship routes and in the design of marine structures such as oil rigs. While the study of internal ocean waves is being improved as input to such applications.

Minimize Ocean Waves
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Prepping for radar vision

18 March 2014

Sentinel-1A, Europe's first satellite for Copernicus, is almost ready for launch on 3 April. Meanwhile, ESA is showing how its advanced radar will map ice, monitor subsidence and much more.

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Science meets Sentinel-3

06 December 2013

With the first of the Sentinel satellites being readied for launch next spring, scientists are looking ahead to the third mission in the series to ensure the highest quality data possible.

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GOCE settles debate on sloping sea

15 February 2013

For decades, scientists have disagreed about whether the sea is higher or lower heading north along the east coast of North America. Thanks to precision gravity data from ESA's GOCE satellite, this controversial issue has now been settled. The answer? It's lower.

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Norwegian Sea's ups and downs

20 November 2012

An anticlockwise rotation of sea-surface height patterns has been observed near Norway's west coast. Archived data from radar altimeters on the ERS-1, ERS-2 and Envisat satellites show the wave-like motion around the centre of the Lofoten Basin.

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Radar altimetry gains altitude in Venice

24 September 2012

Scientists have gathered in the 'floating city' this week to talk about radar altimetry - measuring the heights of the global sea surface, freshwater bodies, land and ice using spaceborne sensors.

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Satellites and piracy on the high seas

15 June 2012

Piracy may be a topic of schoolboy adventure stories, but it’s still a dangerous and costly problem for merchant shipping and tourism in some parts of the world. In the pirate-ridden waters of the Indian Ocean, satellites show that environmental conditions have limited recent pirate activity.

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CryoSat ice satellite rides new waves

23 December 2011

ESA's CryoSat mission has been gathering detailed information on the thickness of Earth's ice since its launch in 2010. Through international collaboration, this state-of-the-art mission is soon to be used to monitor conditions at sea for marine forecasting...

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Earth From Space - Summer in Bloom

06 December 2011

Earth from Space is presented by Kelsea Brennan-Wessels from the ESA Web-TV virtual studios. In this edition, phytoplankton highlight the whirls of ocean currents in spectacular shades of blue and green.

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The world's ocean waves now in one place

10 June 2011

Forecasting the state of the sea is important for shipping, offshore and coastal engineering, management of coastal zones and tourism...

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Ocean Waves at ECMWF

10 June 2009

Prediction of the maximum wave height of extreme events is of tremendous benefit to the marine world. A considerable amount of progress in wave modelling has been achieved in the past 20 years or so and there are definite reasons for further development. A global wave prediction model has been in operations at ECMWF since 1992.