Monitoring Oceans

EUMETSAT supports the development of operational oceanography through the delivery of ocean data to its Member States, the Copernicus marine service, and users worldwide

Operational oceanography, like operational meteorology, is about delivering relevant and reliable information services to citizens and decision-makers. This information is concerned with the past, current and future state of the seas and ocean, at global, basin and coastal scales.

This includes systematic and long-term routine observations of the ocean and surface weather, real-time processing and distribution of data products, their ingestion into ocean prediction systems exploited by service providers like MyOcean and, ultimately, timely delivery of information services to users.

Application areas include safety, shipping, fisheries, management of marine resources, coastal ecosystems and marine pollution, and off-shore industry. A recent European study estimated that if all economic activities that depend on the sea are counted, then the European Union's 'blue' economy represents 5.4 million jobs and a gross added value of just under €500 billion per year.

EUMETSAT's Contribution

Ocean Altimetry

Because the global ocean is even more difficult to observe in situ than the atmosphere, the development of operational oceanography relies on ocean observing satellites. These satellites are unique sources of continuous, highly accurate global measurements of the physical and biological state of the ocean (sea state, sea level, ocean currents, sea surface temperature, ocean colour and sea ice) and of the atmospheric parameters (ocean surface wind, air-sea fluxes, precipitation) that drive the ocean circulation.

This is the rationale behind EUMETSAT's role. Our central facilities in Darmstadt, Germany, and our Satellite Application Facility on Ocean and Sea Ice (OSI SAF) already deliver a range of ocean products extracted from the observations of the Jason-2 high precision altimetry mission, jointly exploited with NOAA, CNES and NASA, of our own Metop and Meteosat satellites and of partners’ missions. Click here to see our range of Ocean products.

We deliver to users in real time to three continents via our EUMETCast satellite broadcast service, enabling end-users who expect both oceanographic and meteorological information to gain access to our full data stream.

A major customer: the COPERNICUS marine service

Global SSTCopernicus, a joint initiative of the EU and ESA, aims to ensure operational monitoring of the atmosphere, oceans and continental surfaces, and to provide reliable, validated information services for a range of environmental and security applications.

Based on the exploitation of space-based and in situ observations and models, Copernicus will provide – among other things – information services for marine monitoring. The full operations phase of Copernicus will begin in 2014 and will be funded by the EU, under its Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.

The ocean monitoring and forecasting part of the Copernicus marine service is being developed by the MyOcean project, now in its second phase. MyOcean caters for the operational needs of public and private users by providing open-access to real-time information about the state of the oceans – temperature, currents, salinity, sea level, sea ice, and primary production – via a dedicated web portal. MyOcean focuses on providing data in four key application areas; marine resources, marine safety, coastal and marine environment, and climate monitoring.

Since 2012, EUMETSAT and MyOcean have established mechanisms to collect feedback on EUMETSAT data services and assess how MyOcean requirements could be even better fulfilled.

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