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Monitoring the Gulf of Mexico Conditions

Satellite-Derived Color (K490)

High Resolution Satellite-Derived Ocean Color (K490) Products

Why are they helpful?

Meassure by satellite, maps of ocean color K490 (the diffuse attenuation coefficient at 490 nm) are directly related to the presence of organic or inorganic particles in the water and constitutes an indication of water turbidity. K490 expresses how deeply visible light penetrates in the ocean and its value describes describes the extent to which the intensity of visible light (with wavelength equal to 490 nm) is reduced as it penetrates into the ocean. Higher K490 value mean smaller attenuation depth, and lower clarity of ocean water. As a result, regional differences and gradients of this parameter help to define Gulf of Mexico water masses circulation features of interest to decision makers, managers, and scientists.

The map below shows the ocean color (K490) fields in the Gulf of Mexico using a 3-day composite of MODIS/Aqua data from CoastWatch Caribbean Regional Node. This 36-band satellite sensor is a primary source of ocean color data since its launch in May 4th, 2002. Gray areas indicate regions covered by clouds obscuring the view of the ocean surface from the satellite sensors.

Sea surface color (K490) in the Gulf of Mexico from MODIS/Aqua

For color fields on previous dates:

To see an animation of the color field, please select one of the month below:


Data source: NOAA CoastWatch

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The map below shows the ocean color (K490) fields in the Gulf of Mexico using a 3-day composite of MODIS/Terra data from CoastWatch Caribbean Regional Node. Gray areas indicate regions covered by clouds obscuring the view of the ocean surface from the satellite sensors.

Sea surface color (K490) in the Gulf of Mexico from MODIS/Terra

For color fields on previous dates:

To see an animation of the color field, please select one of the month below:


Data source: NOAA CoastWatch

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