Baja California Satellite Calibration & Validation

A 60-day cruise to study sea surface temperature and air-sea heat fluxes along dynamic frontal regions off the coast of California.







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The 60-day Baja Campaign cruise was the first time the Saildrone USV platform was used in comparison studies with a satellite. The saildrone sailed from San Francisco along the US/Mexico coast toward Guadalupe Island across the highly variably California Current System. The goal of this mission was to perform a three-way comparison between data collected from a Saildrone USV, the satellite, and moored buoys and research vessels along the track in a region known for complex air-land-sea dynamics.


The data collected from this mission works toward advancing research into upwelling dynamics, air-sea fluxes, and ocean fronts in an economically important part of the ocean.

“The point of the whole scientific mission was to measure the surface flux within hurricanes, especially around the eyewall—and we got it! But before the mission began, my primary goal was to see if the new short-wing vehicle would work, because we just didn’t know. I told everyone, ‘If this vehicle can survive a hurricane, then this would be a big success story.’ The whole mission exceeded my expectations.”

Chidong Zhang

Director of the Ocean Climate Research Division at NOAA PMEL


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