Looking Down on the Seas


Satellite measurement techniques and recent scientific findings that have advanced our knowledge of the role of the oceans in Earth's climate system will be the topic of a free public lecture at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

On Feb. 28 at 4:30 p.m., Michael Freilich, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, will present "Looking Down on the Seas: How Satellites are Revolutionizing Our Understanding of the Ocean." Freilich is the featured speaker for the ninth annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture, presented by the Ocean Studies Board, part of the U.S. National Research Council.

The public is invited to the free lecture to be held in Scripps’s Sumner Auditorium, 8620 La Jolla Shores Dr., La Jolla (one-half block north of El Paseo Grande).

The Revelle Lecture was created by the Ocean Studies Board to honor former Scripps Oceanography Director Roger Revelle for his contributions to ocean sciences and his dedication to making scientific knowledge available to policymakers. Freilich's presentation is the first Revelle Lecture given on both the West and East coasts. Freilich also will give his presentation on Feb. 25 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

A graduate of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Freilich will explore the future of satellite oceanography and the potential to forecast ocean conditions in much the same way weather is forecast today.

Satellite-borne instruments now allow scientists to observe the ocean surface with unprecedented coverage, detail, and accuracy. Global measurements of sea-surface temperature, sea level, wind forcing, ocean color, and sea ice cover are being obtained by satellites almost routinely. With some records reaching back more than two decades, it is now possible to estimate long-term global and regional trends. Satellite observations have substantially changed the conception of the dynamics and scales of the ocean's physical, chemical, and biological properties. Simultaneous measurements from different satellite instruments have helped illuminate the ways in which ocean currents and biology respond to changes in winds and solar energy.

--Shannon Casey

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