The 1st stage of Sentinel-3 satellite data simulation over the Gulf of Riga has completed



As a part of the SENTIBALT project the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) has carried out the 1st year’s flight activities of airborne remote sensing data acquisition in the Gulf of Riga. The data were acquired by using Airborne Surveillance and Environmental Monitoring System ARSENAL that is embedded on a research aircraft. 

IES had to maintain a constant state of readiness, as the studied subject algae bloom is weather dependant and its occurrence varies from year to year. The mouth of Daugava River was selected as a pilot territory, due to the presence of optically variable data. On the 11th and 12th of August, 2015 IES flew over the pilot area to collect the required data using airborne remote sensing sensors. 

MODIS image from EOSDIS Worldview of the Baltic Sea showing algae bloom (11-08-2015)

A hyperspectral image of the algae bloom in the Gulf of Riga. Image: IES

The project team accounted for the dynamic character of marine ecosystems by ensuring that airborne and in situ data collection was performed simultaneously. While the Estonian Marine Institute (EMI) acquired field data, IES flew over the same area to collect airborne data. The airborne remote sensing data were acquired by using a hyperspectral sensor – CASI-1500 with spatial resolution from 0.5-1.5m/px, high resolution RGB camera and LiDAR laser scanner that all are part of the ARSENAL.

The research area covered by airborne remote sensing flight lines and track of field sampling points. The enhanced lines show optical variance of the water within the pilot territory. Image: IES.

Following the data acquisition, the collected data were stored on ARSENAL’s hard drives, before being copied to servers for quality assurance and further processing. Afterwards, remote sensing data operators pre-process the data for visual evaluation, observing the atmosphere impact and preparing the data for further data analysis. The more detailed analysis will provide information on the status of the water quality indicators, such as chlorophyll concentration in the pilot areas of the Gulf of Riga.

HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Strategy has identified remote sensing as a complementary monitoring method for marine monitoring. Sentinel-3 satellite data simulation and its analysis are expected to reveal information on indicators that help to improve Baltic Sea Environmental Status.