PACE orbit with Ocean Color Instrument (OCI) data

  • Released Thursday, December 7th, 2023
  • Updated Sunday, January 28th, 2024 at 11:15PM
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This visualization shows the planned orbit of NASA’s PACE mission (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem). PACE includes several instruments, but this visualization shows only the Ocean Color Instrument (OCI) data swath revealed as the spacecraft flys over.

The Ocean Color Instrument (OCI) viewing width is 113 degrees. During each orbit on the sunlit side of the Earth, OCI will change its pointing from 20 degrees behind the spacecraft (aft) when south of the Sun's latitude to 20 degrees ahead of the spacecraft (fore) when north. This is to avoid having the instrument’s field of view look into Sun glint. OCI will change its pointing back from fore to aft on the dark side of each orbit.

The PACE mission has been conceived principally as a way to measure ocean color for assessing large scale ocean health. These measurements will provide data to determine the distribution of phytoplankton, tiny plants and algae that sustain the marine food web. A simple way to think about this is the more “green” that’s visible from space, the more prevalent are plant cells containing chlorophyll, an essential green pigment responsible for energy-producing photosynthesis in plants. Phytoplankton populations are fundamental to understanding the overall health of the ocean food web, as well as a wide range of related processes.

PACE will be able to see other colors too—a broad range of color, in fact, stretching beyond the bounds of visible light into both ultraviolet as well as infrared. PACE will also be able to make measurements of aerosols in the atmosphere, essential for scientists to improve our understanding of and our ability to forecast weather and climate.

PACE continues a more than 20 year legacy of ocean color measurements, providing the scientific community with a long time series of data. That legacy enables better assessments of long term trends about complex processes on Earth.
PACE will be able to see other colors too—a broad range of color, in fact, stretching beyond the bounds of visible light into both ultraviolet as well as infrared. PACE will also be able to make measurements of aerosols in the atmosphere, essential for scientists to improve our understanding of and our ability to forecast weather and climate.

PACE continues a more than 20-year legacy of ocean color measurements, providing the scientific community with a long time series of data. That legacy enables better assessments of long-term trends about complex processes on Earth.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


Datasets used in this visualization

  • SeaStar Chlorophyll Concentration

    ID: 469
    Collected with SeaWiFS

    All SeaWiFS images and data presented on this web site are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye.

    Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, The SeaWiFS Project and GeoEye, Scientific Visualization Studio. NOTE: All SeaWiFS images and data presented on this web site are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye (NOTE: In January 2013, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye combined to become one DigitalGlobe.).

    This dataset can be found at: http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/PRODUCTS/

    See all pages that use this dataset
  • Comiso's Daily Sea Ice Concentration

    ID: 539
    Data Compilation NASA/GSFC
  • SeaStar NDVI

    ID: 601
    Collected with SeaWiFS

    All SeaWiFS images and data presented on this web site are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye.

    Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, The SeaWiFS Project and GeoEye, Scientific Visualization Studio. NOTE: All SeaWiFS images and data presented on this web site are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye (NOTE: In January 2013, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye combined to become one DigitalGlobe.).

    See all pages that use this dataset
  • Terra and Aqua NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI))

    ID: 633
    Collected with MODIS NASA
  • GEOS Atmospheric Model

    ID: 665
    Model NASA GMAO
  • Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS) IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis (IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis - 24 km Resolution)

    ID: 778
    Analysis NOAA
  • Suomi NPP Chlorophyll (Chlorophyll Concentration)

    ID: 987
    Observed Data Collected with VIIRS
  • Suomi NPP Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)

    ID: 988
    Analysis Collected with VIIRS
  • PACE orbit planning ephemeris (TLE) (PACE orbit planning ephemeris (TLE))

    ID: 1157
    Ephemeris NASA

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.