With sea surface temperature (SST) an important variable for weather forecasting and increasingly seen as a key indicator of climate change, the idea behind Medspiration is to combine data from multiple satellite systems to produce a robust set of sea surface data for assimilation into ocean forecasting models of the waters around Europe and also the whole of the Atlantic Ocean.
For the Mediterranean Sea, the Medspiration product is being created to an unprecedented spatial resolution of two square kilometres, as Ian Robinson of the Southampton Oceanography Centre, managing the Medspiration Project explains: "The surface temperature distribution in the Mediterranean contains many finely detailed features that reveal eddies, fronts and plumes associated with the dynamics of water circulation. A resolution as fine as this is needed to allow these features to be properly tracked."
The remaining ocean products are intended to have a still impressive spatial resolution of ten square kilometres. Overall results from the Medspiration project also feed into an even more ambitious scheme to combine all available SST data into a worldwide high-resolution product, known as the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) High-Resolution Sea Surface Temperature Pilot Project (GHRSST-PP).
Its aim is to deliver to the user community a new generation of highly accurate worldwide SST products with a space resolution of less than ten kilometres every six hours.
As an important step towards achieving this goal, ESA has not only initiated Medspiration as the European contribution to the overall GHRSST-PP effort, but the Agency funded a GHRSST International Project Office,
Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
European Space Agency