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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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New swath processing for ocean patterns?

28 October 2016

ESA's CryoSat was launched in 2010 to understand how the thickness of Earth's ice is changing, but this sophisticated mission has gone over and above its original remit in a number of ways. Pushing the mission even further, the latest efforts focus on patterns in the ocean.

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Satellites help understand what fuels the twilight zone

27 September 2016

The deep, dark twilight zone a kilometre down in the ocean is home to most of the world's fish, but how they get enough food has largely been a mystery. Now, thanks to satellites and floating sensors, scientists have worked out how much energy is being pumped to the depths.

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Sun glitter reveals coastal waves

19 May 2016

Sentinel-2A is demonstrating how it can be used to help forecast ocean waves around our coasts: sunlight reflected from the water surface reveals complex waves as they encounter the coastline and seafloor off the tip of Dorre Island, Western Australia.

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Special delivery from CryoSat

11 June 2014

New data products from ESA's ice mission open new doors for scientists studying oceans.

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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.