composite map

Global recognition for PML’s Earth Observation science

Part of a composite map of chlorophyll-a concentration showing a harmful algal bloom off western Scotland (red areas, 21-27 Aug. 2011, NASA Aqua sensor) processed and provided in near-real time by PML to Scottish salmon farming companies.


This week the relevance of PML Earth Observation science has been recognised on a global scale through the launch of a new report ‘Applications of Satellite Earth Observations: Serving Society, Science & Industry’.   

The report came from The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, CEOS; a world renowned organisation representing the civil Earth-observing (EO) programmes of more than 30 leading space agencies globally.

Three articles on PML science were featured in the report, which was launched at a CEOS event in Tokyo earlier this week:

  • Satellite monitoring of harmful algal blooms (HABs) to protect the aquaculture industry;

  • NEODAAS: Providing satellite data for efficient research;

  • Ocean fronts helping to define marine protected areas.

The report was compiled by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, as the CEOS Chair for 2015, to paint a picture of the breadth of applications supported by EO satellite data in the service of society, science, and industry. These applications originate from a wide range of sectors including disaster risk reduction, public health, natural resource exploration, infrastructure planning and management, and environment and climate.

To demonstrate the real value of Earth Observation programmes, the report featured quotes from users, such as those below which refer to the application of PML’s satellite monitoring of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs):

“Allowed us to put the farms on 'alert' a few days before a bloom came… we are convinced that this prevented us from suffering losses.” Rachel Hope, Shetland Products Ltd.

“I would not feel secure enough to go blind in future – we need this information”. Chris Wallace, Marine Harvest (Scotland) Ltd.

The report suggests that the full potential benefits of data from EO satellites can only be realised if it is made freely and openly available to the many and diverse users from all sectors. This situation is improving as governments worldwide begin to adopt data policies that support the public good.

The CEOS Report will serve as a valuable reference source for a variety of readers from all sectors of society, from decision-makers to the interested layman. It will be distributed at the Group on Earth Observation Ministerial Summit next week in Mexico, and at other important international events.

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