Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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This chart tracks mean daily wind speed at Socotra (Yemen) and pirate attacks by latitude for April 2010 to July 2011. When the wind speed dropped, pirate attacks increased.

Earth observation data from the European Space Agency’s GlobWave project reveals that Mother Nature seems to be slowing down the rate of successful pirate attacks on the high seas. In a study by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), using information from the agency’s GlobWave project, climate factors were examined alongside piracy in the Indian Ocean. GlobWave compiles satellite data on ocean waves. Satellites can help to forecast winds and waves, and can therefore indicate favorable conditions for pirate attacks.

Owing to security problems in the region, no in-situ measurements were available, making GlobWave data uniquely placed to provide regular and accurate wind and wave height information. The study found there was a strong correlation between successful pirate activity and wind speed and wave height (see chart).

Chart courtesy of ESA/D. Cook, S. Garrett and M. Rutherford.

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