littoral, electro-optical, microwave, marine radar, bathymetry, infrared
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The shallow waters of the nearshore ocean are popular, dynamic, and often hostile. Prediction in this domain is usually limited less by our understanding of the physics or by the power of our models than by the availability of input data, such as bathymetry and wave conditions. It is a challenge for traditional in situ instruments to provide these inputs with the appropriate temporal or spatial density or at reasonable logistical or financial costs. Remote sensing provides an attractive alternative. We discuss the range of different sensors that are available and the differing physical manifestations of their interactions with the ocean surface. We then present existing algorithms by which the most important geophysical variables can be estimated from remote sensing measurements. Future directions and opportunities will depend on expected developments in sensors and platforms and on improving processing algorithms, including data assimilation formalisms.