Navigation Links
Climate experts search for answers in the oceans

By absorbing half of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, the oceans have a profound influence on climate. However, their ability to take up this carbon dioxide might be impaired as a result of climate change. To determine their response to global warming, ESA has backed two projects that provide systematic data on key oceanic variables ?color and temperature.

The Medspiration project, aimed at charting sea-surface temperatures, and the GlobCOLOUR project, aimed at developing a data set of global ocean colour, both combine data measured independently by several different satellite systems into a set of products that represent the best possible measurements and allow researchers from various fields to pool their efforts in an attempt to understand how the climate is reacting to changes. "Clues to climatic changes may already be written on the oceans?surface. Because we now have detailed data that allow us to look for correlations, we are learning how to read those messages," said Prof. Ian Robinson at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) and Medspiration Project Manager. "ESA is making a difference to public awareness of climate change by helping us to better understand the sea surface temperature story."

Phytoplankton, microscopic marine plants that drift on or near the surface of the sea, absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and convert it into organic carbon. This process is known as primary production. While individually microscopic, phytoplankton chlorophyll collectively tints the surrounding ocean waters, providing a means of detecting these tiny organisms from space with dedicated ocean colour sensors.

"Because phytoplankton are a major influence on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and are sensitive to environmental changes, it is important to monitor and model them into calculations of future climate change," Prof. Emeritus Andre Morel at the French Observatoire Océanolgique d e Villefranche explained. "The risk is that we may find the warming of the sea and the modification of the water circulation patterns may cut off or modify some of that primary production, so it is important to know both sea-surface temperature and ocean colour."

In order to make the most of all satellite information available on ocean colour and sea-surface temperature, ESA is merging data from state-of-the-art instruments aboard different satellites. GlobCOLOUR uses data from colour sensors such as MERIS aboard ESA’s Envisat as well as MODIS carried aboard NASA’s Aqua and SeaWiFS aboard GeoEye's Orbview-2 satellite. Medspiration utilises data from ESA’s Envisat and Meteosat-8, the United States?National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) polar orbiters, the Japanese’s Space Agency-NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and the AMSRE instrument onboard NASA's Aqua.

"Over the last five years there has been a concerted effort by the world space agencies to share and develop satellite ocean temperature measurements together for the benefit of all, and we can expect improvements in operational weather and ocean predictions based on the application of these products," Dr Craig Donlon of the Met Office, United Kingdom, said. "ESA should be proud of their leading role in supporting these efforts through the International GODAE High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature Pilot Project Office (GHRSST-PP) and the highly successful Medspiration Project."

The large volume of data acquired by satellite observations gives scientists a uniquely detailed view of the changing physical characteristics of ocean surfaces, but long-term series of satellite measurements are required in order to detect trends.

The National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), part of the United States?National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is archiving these data sets to encourage data exchange and preserving them for long-term use.

"People will be using these data 20, 50, and 100 years from now in ways that we can’t even imagine, so we need to do a lot of things today to ensure this irreplaceable information remains useful and understandable for decades to come," NODC’s Dr Ken Casey said.

The data and services being provided by GlobCOLOUR and Medspiration, projects developed under ESA's Data User Element (DUE) programme, are paving the way for ESA's Sentinel-3 satellite, which will be dedicated to providing operational oceanographic services. Sentinel-3, whose principal payload is an ocean-monitoring altimeter and an optical and infrared radiometer, is scheduled for launch between 2011 and 2012 as part of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) service.
'"/>

Source:European Space Agency


Related biology news :

1. Climate model links higher temperatures to prehistoric extinction
2. Climate change will affect carbon sequestration in oceans, model shows
3. Climate change: The rice genome to the rescue
4. Climate change drives widespread amphibian extinctions
5. Climate change has surprising effect on endangered naked carp
6. Climate change creates dramatic decline in red-winged black bird population
7. Climate change could trigger boom and bust population cycles leading to extinction
8. Climate change impacts stream life
9. Climate change was the cause of Neanderthal extinction in the Iberian Peninsula
10. South Americas vast pantanal wetland may become next everglades, UNU experts warn
11. Hopkins AIDS experts issue warning about global efforts to provide drug therapies

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/22/2016)... ANGELES , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identity management and verification solutions, has partnered ... edge software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service ... provides products that add functional enhancements ... partnership provides corporations and venues with an ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider ... public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced that ... has secured the final acceptance by all three ... Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will have ... installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between legitimate ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint ... sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening ... ... ... Photo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network ... Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is ... projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Andrew ... http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 Published recently in ... journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , ... cancer care is placing an increasing burden on ... biologic therapies. With the patents on many biologics ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) ... QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate the development ... laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential ... for many early stage organizations - access to laboratory ... Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each ...
Breaking Biology Technology: