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MERIS/AATSR Workshop looks at twin sensors with many uses

Two satellite sensors work better than one for the study of Earth's oceans, atmosphere and land - that was the message of a major ESA workshop bringing together scientific users of Envisat's MERIS and AATSR instruments.

Launched three and a half years ago, ESA's Envisat satellite was built with a synergistic approach in mind. Its ten onboard instruments observe the Earth in a variety of ways, but Envisat's two most closely aligned sensors are the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) and Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR). Both instruments produce visible-light images of the Earth. MERIS acquires imagery in multispectral bands that return additional environmental information, while AATSR is a radiometer that takes the temperature of the ocean and land to a very high precision, with a dual view design to better characterise the contents of the atmosphere. Their complementary nature means there is a lot of potential in synergistic combination of their data a possibility explored at this week's event.

More than 220 European and world scientists gathered at ESRIN, ESA's European Centre for Earth Observation in Frascati, Italy, to participate in the five-day MERIS/AATSR Workshop. A total of 90 scientific presentations were given during the event, along with 14 keynote speeches, and 65 posters detailing research were on show. The Workshop also hosted training sessions in utilising the software tools used to process images from both sensors - known as the Basic ERS & Envisat AATSR and MERIS (BEAM) toolbox.

Both MERIS and AATSR have a similar history: they were originally designed for operation over the ocean but their high performance has led to an increasing amount of applications for the study of atmospheric constituents and land surfaces.

MERIS was optimised for the observation of ocean colour used to derive marine phytoplankton and water contents - while AATSR's main task is to maintain a long-term record
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-06-941-80-856
European Space Agency
3-Oct-2005


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