09 November 2018
By Dr Andrey Kurekin (Plymouth Marine Laboratory) & Dr Ben Loveday (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)

Earth observation (EO) is an invaluable tool for monitoring and managing ocean and coastal ecosystems. However, the volume and complexity of EO data can prove to be substantial barriers to incorporating it into regional research and operational programmes. Overcoming, these barriers requires targeted training that is appropriate both to the users of the data and to the applications that are of primary concern to each case-study region in the Blue Communities consortium.

To ensure that Project 7 maximises the relevance and uptake of EO products developed and disseminated during the Blue Communities, and that it effectively develops local capacity, a two day EO training workshop is planned for the November annual meeting in Palawan. This workshop, which will be hosted by the Western Philippines University at their Puerto Princessa City Campus (see image), builds on responses from project partners concerning EO applications of interest, and will cover the analysis of sea-surface temperature (SST), ocean colour, altimetry and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, as well as tutorials on the software used to explore them.

In tandem, Project-7 EO resources are being continually updated. Regional SST time-series have been generated (2002-present) and shared with case study partners, with Ocean Colour-Climate Change Initiative (OC-CCI) based regional chlorophyll products to soon follow. We are in the process of acquiring and evaluating datasets on mangrove distribution and have received habitat ground-truth maps for Palawan, in collaboration with Project 3 and other projects. Providing suspended sediment concentrations, and regional extractions of mangrove distributions is planned for future delivery.

The problem of harmful algal blooms (HABs) has been discussed with both Indonesian and Philippines partners, from which EO methods and products were identified to assist in detection and monitoring of HAB events. We are planning a discussion at Palawan meeting about HAB types that could be detected using the EO method, so that this international collaboration can extend the application of the HAB detection to the SE Asian region and species.
Project 7: Earth observation approaches
Project lead: Dr Peter Miller
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