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Marine Environmental Monitoring

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The study of the marine environment is primarily utilised by the fishing industry to monitor algal blooms and phytoplankton distribution, both key elements of the oceanic food chain.

Thematic Results

The Copernicus Marine Service has released a new ocean information product. The Ocean Monitoring Indicators (OMIs) are free downloadable datasets which cover the past 25 years of key variables used in monitoring oceanic trends in line with climate change, including ocean warming, sea level rise and melting of sea ice. This free and open ocean information allows users to track the vital health signs of the ocean over the past quarter of a century.

Each year, about a quarter of the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere ends up in the ocean, but how it happens is still not fully understood. The Sentinel-3A satellite is poised to play an important role in shedding new light on this exchange.

The current El Niño weather phenomenon is taking its toll on coral reefs, prompting a field campaign to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to explore how Europe's Sentinel-2 satellite might be able to quantify the damage on a large scale.

Conservation organisations and space agencies are being called on to join forces to decide how changes in biodiversity can be monitored globally. What, exactly, should be measured by satellites?

While engineers have almost finished building the first Sentinel-3 satellite for ocean forecasting and marine safety, a beer cooler has an unusual role in supporting the long-term record of sea-surface temperatures.

Sea-level rise is one of the most threatening consequences of ongoing global warming and is a major indicator of climate change.

How do measurements from satellites flying above Earth provide essential information on the effects of climate change on our planet? Scientific and political organisations considered the question in London today.

Exploitation of radar altimeter data over coastal areas has always been problematic as a consequence of contamination of waveforms due to land or very calm waters in the radar footprint, and inaccurate tidal and wet tropospheric corrections.

Estuaries along many of the world's diverse coastlines, support important ecosystem functions and services. They are complex environments, in which dissolved, and suspended particulate matter (SPM), discharged by rivers in upland basins are concentrated and mixed with marine waters and their dissolved and suspended substances.

Mesoscale marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) phenomena are frequently observed by satellite sensors. They appear either as organised cloud patterns in visible-infrared satellite images or as coherent patterns on the sea surface in microwave synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images.

Satellite observations of global sea-surface temperature show that a 30-year upward trend has slowed down within the last 15 years. Climate scientists say this is not the end of global warming, but the result of a rearrangement in the energy flow of the climate system and, in particular, how the ocean stores heat.

Science meets Sentinel-3

06 December 2013

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With the first of the Sentinel satellites being readied for launch next spring, scientists are looking ahead to the third mission in the series to ensure the highest quality data possible.

Scientists have used satellite observations to create a set of high-resolution 3D maps of the entire Great Barrier Reef - a critical step towards identifying, managing and protecting what lies beneath the waters.

Multisensoral remote sensing is a valuable method to gather the necessary water budget components with appropriate spatial coverage and with high temporal resolutions for closed basin lakes on the Tibetan Plateau due to their remote and hard to access locations.

The Azov Sea is a shallow inland sea adjoined by Ukraine on the west and Russia on the east, and gets most of its water input from the runoff from the Don River, the Kuban River, and several smaller rivers; thus, its water quality is heavily influenced by the fluvial runoff. Tremendous industrialisation in the last couple of decades, leading to increased influx of terrigenous nutrients, has produced significant eutrophication in the Azov Sea. This has caused drastic changes in the ecosystem, resulting in tremendous loss of fish population.

Piracy may be a topic of schoolboy adventure stories, but it’s still a dangerous and costly problem for merchant shipping and tourism in some parts of the world. In the pirate-ridden waters of the Indian Ocean, satellites show that environmental conditions have limited recent pirate activity.

The loss of the Envisat satellite is affecting services by Europe's Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme. Efforts are being coordinated with other space agencies to fill some of the gaps, but the situation adds further urgency to launch the Sentinel missions.

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