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VIIRS Capable of Detecting Shipping Container Backlog in Light of Supply-Chain Challenges

ESSIC/CISESS Senior Faculty Specialist Yan Bai is a part of a NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) project alongside Changyong Cao, STAR/SMCD/SCDA. The scientists found that VIIRS imaging bands can detect shipping containers at ports under clear sky conditions, despite its moderate resolution and the weak signal. This may enable them to monitor the port activities such as shipping container backlog in light of supply-chain challenges as widely discussed in the media. Figure 1 shows that more than 50 ships were found in the port of Los Angeles on October 1, 2021, compared to about a dozen two years ago, which indicates a potential backlog on that day.

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