Scientists meet to discuss Sentinel-3 data quality

About 150 scientists from around the world have gathered at EUMETSAT headquarters in Darmstadt to discuss the results from the scientific validation of the operational products from the ocean and land-monitoring satellite Sentinel-3A.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

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Sentinel-3A is one of the EU’s fleet of satellites that is part of its Copernicus Earth observation programme.

EUMETSAT operates the spacecraft from Darmstadt and disseminates its marine data stream to users around the world.

Participants will also discuss the plans and prospects for calibration and validation for Sentinel-3B, which is due to be launched at the end of next month.

EUMETSAT Competence Area Manager for Marine Applications Francois Montagner said the Sentinel-3 Validation Team was multidisciplinary and fully international, with scientists from North and South America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Australia joining a larger contingent from Europe.

The scientists receive early access to the data in return for working to help improve the science, mostly in the area of calibration and validation, supported by their own data, Montagner said.

“The important thing is to get direct feedback on the data quality and indications where things could be improved,” he said.

“Sentinel-3 carries multiple instruments and the mission has a large number of validation teams which are dedicated to one theme or one set of instruments.

“This meeting is one of the occasions when people can discuss findings on cross-cutting issues.”

EUMETSAT collects and disseminates data from three instruments on board Sentinel-3 – the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR), the Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter (SRAL) and the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI).

“All observations made by Sentinel-3 complement each other, providing essential input to a detailed view of the global oceans,” Montagner said.

“For example, measurements of sea surface temperature made by the SLSTR and sea level observations made by the SRAL complement each other in terms of the observations of the heat stored in a column of water.

“Ocean colour observations by the OLCI account for life in the form of phytoplankton and water quality, not just at the surface but a few metres below.

“At the same time, the plankton drifts along currents, providing diagnostics for ocean circulation models which assimilate sea level measurements.”

EUMETSAT co-chairs the Sentinel-3 Validation Team with the European Space Agency (ESA), which is in charge of the land data stream from the satellite. The meeting runs from 13-15 March.

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