Wednesday 8 June is the 13th annual World Ocean Day. Created in 1992 at the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, World Ocean Day is an opportunity to celebrate our world ocean, its abundant life, and the ways we are all connected to the sea, no matter how far we live from its edge. More than 600 aquariums, zoos, museums and conservation organisations are participating in global activities today. The ocean is no longer so abundant and clean as it once was: many of the world's fisheries are in decline, coral ecosystems are deteriorating and fragile coastal habitats being choked by pollution. But today and every day, Earth Observation spacecraft continuously acquire data across the seven tenths of our planet covered by the sea.
These data increase our scientific understanding and support a range of environmental monitoring services in support of ocean conservation.
Global ocean temperature measurements
Space-based instruments measure sea surface temperature, which is important because it helps improve weather forecasting and is also a key indicator of the likely extent of future climate change the oceans working like batteries that store incoming solar energy.
For example, the family of Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) sensors carried on ESA's ERS and Envisat satellites have compiled a continuous dataset of ocean temperatures that stretches back 14 years that could be used to prove a heating trend beyond the range of natural variation.
An ambitious plan aims at merging all available sea surface temperature data including satellite sources into a worldwide high-resolution product known a
Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
European Space Agency