Paris, April 6, 2005 – Jason-1 satellite with its altimetry payload and the MERIS hyperspectral instrument onboard ESA‘s Envisat have simultaneously celebrated the completion of three years in flight, in December 2004 for Jason and in February 2005 for Meris. Both provide key Oceanography products, and an user-oriented workshop took place in Cannes for the event end of March.
This allowed main players within the Oceanography community to meet (being either from agencies
from Cnes to NASA, or actual end-users -ACRI, LTMG, Ifremer, universities…), and to have fruitful exchanges on the uses of existing sensors (Envisat and Jason-1) and about the future (US development plans, European GMES Sentinel-3).
The main findings are the following:
Owing to Envisat/Meris and Jason, Europe has demonstrated its capability to build reliable instruments, spacecrafts and system tools.
Today the only programmable hyperspectral instrument in flight, MERIS demonstrates the best availability among the whole Envisat payload with just not a single outage in three years. Similarly, the Proteus/Jason satellite demonstrates an outstanding availability and has been designed as part of a versatile batch procurement in order to reduce costs –“more science for the money”.
Operational Oceanography is on its way
Very efficient system and processing tools are now in place that ensure a regular and timely data extraction, merging and diffusion: the complete chain is now mature, and this for multiple applications, from chlorophyll index to hydrology basin monitoring to fish management.
The issue is about Continuity of Oceanography from Space
While many end-users make tremendous efforts to merge data even from very different satellites, and develop very promising (pre)-operational services , the high regularity of today‘s products critically depends on renewing the current space capacity: this indeed is generally well identified in all european institutions but the issue lies with the actual in-orbit replenishment schedule.
Oceanography and hydrology applications (like those presented by LTMG or Mercator) will be considered as dependable on a regular basis and trigger more users only if the continuity of current services is secured.
The general agreement is that numerous applications are definitely turning operational, and this is why all participants unanimously called for GMES Sentinel 3 to get prioritary attention from Europe decision makers.
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