Maps produced by NASA, the American space research centre, and derived from measurements made by its Quikstat satellite could be used to identify promising areas for offshore wind farm development. The satellite, launched in 1999, tracks the speed direction and power of winds near the ocean surface. The data are monitored continuously by a specialised microwave radar instrument and are also used to enhance the accuracy of weather forecasts. The maps show wind speeds generally increase towards the globe's poles, although it is less windy in the north during the summer. The south coast of Australia, New Zealand and the southern part of South America appear to be windy all year round.