Satellite images like this one help scientist on the VOCALS campaign. This picture shows patterns in clouds over the Southeastern Pacific Ocean.
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Image Courtesy of the MODIS Science Team at NASA GSFC
Satellites in the VOCALS Field Campaign
Scientists use lots of data from satellites in the VOCALS field campaign. They also gather data from instruments on ships and on airplanes. When they combine data from satellites, ships, and aircraft, they get a better "picture" of what's going on in the Southeast Pacific.
Satellites give VOCALS scientists lots of data about clouds and the atmosphere. Pictures from satellites show scientist where there are clouds and where the air is clear. They also measure how much sunlight is reflected from clouds back into space. Instruments on satellites also help scientists measure the wind, spot swarms of tiny aerosol particles, and figure out what water droplets in clouds are like.
Satellites also help measure things about the ocean. They tell us the temperature of the ocean, what ocean currents are like, the height of the sea surface, and even where there is lots of plankton. Scientists combine these satellite measurements with data gathered from ships.
Which satellites are used by VOCALS? There are a lot of them! Here are the main ones. They include NASA's Terra, Aqua, CloudSat, and QuikSCAT. There is also the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, which is from NASA and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). The GOES-10 satellite is from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite.
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