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Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico Regional Node

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CoastWatch is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration program that provides remotely sensed satellite and other environmental data to government decision makers and academic researchers. The Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico Regional Node is one of several sites throughout the United States set up for the processing and distribution of CoastWatch information:

USA Map Showing CoastWatch Node Locations

Honolulu | Anchorage | Pacific Grove | Stennis | Ann Arbor | Miami | Narragansett

Any member of the government, academic, commerical, or public sectors may access data via the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico Regional Node web site free of charge. CoastWatch data is used in a variety of ways to monitor sea-surface-temperature and algal blooms, study fish and marine mammal distributions, and to aid in atmospheric forecasting.

CoastWatch Data

The primary data source for CoastWatch data is the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) on the NOAA series polar orbiting weather satellites. The AVHRR sensor measures radiance from the earth in five bands or channels with 1.1 km resolution at nadir:

Channel # Wavelength Band
Primary use

1 0.58-0.68 (visible) daytime cloud, snow and ice mapping data
2 0.72-1.10 (near-IR) surface water delineation, vegetation and agriculture assessments
3 3.55-3.93 (infrared) nighttime cloud mapping, sea surface temperature measurements, land and water distinctions, and hot spot detection such as volcanic activity or forest fires
4 10.30-11.30 (infrared) cloud mapping, sea and land surface temperature measurements, and soil moisture and volcanic eruption data
5 11.50-12.50 (infrared) sea surface temperature measurements and soil moisture data

Satellite estimates of sea-surface-temperature (SST) are made by converting the radiance measured in the infrared channels to brightness temperature and then using a multichannel technique to calculate SST to within ±0.5°C. Cloud identification masks are also created using visible and infrared channels with a series of spectral gradient, difference, and threshold tests.

How to Access

The Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico Regional Node web site is designed to supply users with satellite data files and previews in near-real-time. Image data is available for a number of different regions and product data types. Access to CoastWatch satellite data is free and unrestricted.

CoastWatch users can visit the data selection page to download data files for use with one of the CoastWatch software packages, plot data using the web site online preview, or convert data to other data formats for use in GIS or scientific plotting packages.


The CoastWatch Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico Node is currently operated by the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laborartory (AOML) Remote Sensing Group. Please feel free to contact us for any questions or comments:

or fill out our online feedback form.

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