The SeaWiFS Project
The purpose of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) Project is to provide quantitative data on global ocean bio-optical properties to the Earth science community. Subtle changes in ocean color signify various types and quantities of marine phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants), the knowledge of which has both scientific and practical applications. The SeaWiFS Project will develop and operate a research data system that will process, calibrate, validate, archive and distribute data received from an Earth-orbiting ocean color sensor.
The SeaWiFS Mission is a part of NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE), which is designed to look at our planet from space to better understand it as a system in both behavior and evolution. Since an orbiting sensor can view every square kilometer of cloud-free ocean every 48 hours, satellite-acquired ocean color data constitute a valuable tool for determining the abundance of ocean biota on a global scale, and can assess the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle and the exchange of other critical elements and gases between the atmosphere and the ocean.