Remote sensing of ocean color offers the potential of monitoring some of the characteristics of the upper layer of the ocean, on a global basis, by use of sensors on satellites or aircraft. Color sensing has been shown to be of use for parameters such as chlorophyll and sediment concentration and the location and motion of pollutants due to ocean dumping. A major obstacle to remote sensing of ocean color from satellites or high altitude aircraft is backscatter of sunlight by the atmosphere. This backscatter, consisting of reasonably predictable Rayleigh scattering and unpredictable Mie scattering, will constitute the majority of the signal seen by a high altitude sensor. In addition, some of the sunlight scattered from the ocean is scattered out of the sensor field of view by the atmosphere. The result is a low contrast signal with the oceanographic information contained in 20% or less of the total detectable signal. Aircraft flight tests, with concurrent surface truth measurements, have been carried out at altitudes up to 19.8 km with spectrometers and multispectral imagers. Analysis techniques have been developed that allow meaningful, quantitative calculation of ocean water content to be made from the remotely sensed color. The results have led to a satellite sensor, the Coastal Zone Color Scanner, to be flown on Nimbus G in 1978.