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Rutgers MCS Logo
how we study the ocean
how does the cool room work
sensing satellites
codar antennae
LEO instruments
MET tower
upwelling index
who's in the cool?
who uses the cool room?
evolution of oceanography

How Does the COOLroom Work?
- Remote Sensing Satellites Give Us A Bird's Eye View of the Ocean

If you have ever gone swimming or hung your feet off the bow of a boat in the ocean, you know that there are pockets of cold and warm water. By monitoring the movement of these pockets, scientists can determine how the ocean is moving at any moment in time.

In the COOLroom, oceanographers gather and publish images of the New Jersey coast and ocean taken by NOAA/AVHRR satellites. These satellites orbit the earth at an altitude of 500 miles and are designed to "see" the earth's surface temperature, taking pictures of the earth that represent temperatures as colors. The images taken of the ocean are sent back down to earth as Sea Surface Temperature maps, or SST maps for short.
To learn how to read an SST map, go to the
Control Room and click on the SST button.

In the COOLroom you can also find archived SST maps, if you are interested in a particular date or want to learn how the ocean moved over time.

The COOLroom provides a description of
these satellites and their orbit.

NOAA/AVHR stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer. NOAA is a division of the US government, under the Department of Commerce, dedicated to learning more about our environment so the information can be used to improve the lives of Americans. Visit the NOAA at to learn more about how they conduct research, gather information and how they apply the information to help us. On the NOAA site, you can also find out where the satellites are right now.

So, who uses this stuff?
People other than oceanographers find Sea Surface Temperature maps useful. Swimmers can use these maps to decide which beach has water temperature that is "just right." The food that fish feed on tends to get trapped where warm and cold water meet, so fisherman use the SST images to determine where to drop their nets. The US Coast Guard uses these maps for search and rescue operations to help them determine how cold the water is where someone is missing so they know how long someone can survive before they succumb to hypothermia.

Because the COOLroom facilitates collaboration between scientists, they are able to look at Sea Surface Temperature maps from satellites along with information on ocean surface currents gathered from CODAR instruments and weather data gathered from Meteorological Tower to predict the potential for upwelling. Upwelling occurs when cold water from the ocean floor is pushed to the surface.

SST Stands for:


Learn more about the COOLroom's upwelling index.