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Detection of ships and their tracks in the atmosphere from satellites was earlier demonstrated by Porch, Noone, and Kaufman, among others. In this letter, we have gone one step further to estimate the ship speed and direction by locating them and their tracks from multisatellite imagery. Exhausts from the ships create streaks of clouds in the atmosphere that help identify the same ship from two satellites. Ship velocities are estimated from displacements of ships. We have used optical sensors data from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Ocean Color Monitor (OCM) to demonstrate this technique. Estimated velocities of ships are within the expected range. Application of this approach has general interest to the navy, coast guards, shipping corporations, commercial ship owners, and fishermen. More satellite observations can be used to continuously monitor the ship velocities.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2005