Since 1978, NASA has been monitoring ocean winds via scatterometry, the data of which has improved weather and hurricane forecasts and helped us better understand global climate patterns. Knowing which way the wind is blowing over water is critical for industries such as shipping and fishing, and it helps predict unusual weather phenomena, such as El Niño.

Video Transcript

What do weather forecasts, seafood, cargo ships and offshore oil rigs all have in common?

Wind! That’s right. Wind!

NASA studies ocean winds from space.

How? By measuring what the wind does to water by sending a radio signal toward the ocean.

The stronger the wind, the choppier the sea, the stronger the echo that bounces back to space.

Mapping ocean winds over many years helps NASA develop better weather and climate models and figure out phenomena like El Niño.

Ocean-wind data helps us forecast the weather and track tropical storms and hurricanes.

We can help ships avoid heavy seas and high headwinds

And we can get better at cleaning up oil spills when they occur.

It even helps us harvest seafood.

So, if you’re wondering what the weather has in store or maybe where your next shrimp dinner is coming from,the answers, my friend, are blowin’ in the wind.