MERIS/AATSR Workshop: Focus on Envisat sensors measuring heat and light

ESA's Envisat satellite has been continuously observing the Earth with a suite of ten instruments for the last three and a half years. A major workshop is about to bring together users of Envisat's two most complementary sensors: MERIS, which acquires multispectral imagery of the planet's ocean, land and atmosphere, and AATSR, a radiometer measuring global surface and cloud temperatures down to a fraction of a degree.

The five-day MERIS/AATSR Workshop is scheduled to take place in ESRIN, the European Centre for Earth Observation in Frascati overlooking Rome, from Monday 26 September. More than 200 Principal Investigators from over 30 countries, including ESA's 17 member states and Canada, as well as India, New Zealand, Nigeria and Japan are expected to attend. There will be 90 presentations during the Workshop and around 65 posters on show. The Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) takes visible-light images of the precise 'colour' of the ocean and coastal zones, enabling determination of the biological and sediment loading of the water.

The instrument also acquires land-based images showing land use and vegetation cover. Because these images are acquired in up to 15 spectral bands, they provide additional environmental information such as chlorophyll levels, plant health and local geology. MERIS can also monitor the distribution of atmospheric aerosols and otherwise invisible water vapour concentrations.

The Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) also has a visible-light imaging capability for land surfaces and atmospheric clouds and aerosols, but its view also extends further than that of MERIS into near and thermal-infrared wavelengths.

Working day and night AATSR measures global sea surface temperature (SST) to an accuracy of 0.3 K, constantly extending a 14-year satellite dataset commenced by predecessor ATSR instruments flown aboard ERS-1 and 2. The top two metres of the ocean alone contain more energy t

Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
European Space Agency

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