Earth Observation

Remote sensing obtains information about the ocean from a distance, usually from satellites or aircraft, and can be used to measure a wide variety of parameters from ocean temperature to plankton dynamics. These observations from space provide unique information which greatly aids understanding and management of our environment and are vitally important because they can observe vast areas of the Earth that are difficult to access and sample using traditional methods.

Our activities are centred on the remote sensing of the Earth’s ocean and atmosphere, whilst not ignoring the intimate connections between the ocean, the atmosphere and terrestrial, estuarine and lacustrine environments. We have a focus on several research areas:

  • Phytoplankton dynamics and ocean colour
  • Validation of Earth observation data
  • Exploitation of Earth observation data
  • Provision of EO services to NERC and European agencies
 

Finally, the group is also exploiting new capabilities from the ESA Sentinel programme for innovative applications, and, potentially, commercial services, such as for the aquaculture industry, working with PML Applications Ltd.

PML's use of satellite data

Making a difference

Our Earth Observation group enjoys a global reputation and has a proven track record in both pure and applied Earth observation science, and comprises experts in many complementary fields including remote-sensing, physics, meteorology, engineering, data visualisation and computing. PML also develops applications to address environmental questions, provide services for others and is working to commercialise its research via PML Applications Ltd.

With a flexible approach to problem solving, scientific investigation and interpretation, and a willingness to share its expertise and to work co-operatively world-wide our Earth Observation group is a partner in a multitude of national and international projects, latterly with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Copernicus Programme, as well as NERC, BBSRC and Defra research programmes.

Further information

Projects

ESA CCI Ocean Colour ECV
Completed

ESA CCI Ocean Colour ECV

Contact: Dr Shubha Sathyendranath

Observations from space provide unique information which greatly aids understanding and management of climate change. However, satellite data are...

S-3 EUROHAB - Sentinel products for detecting EUtROphication and Harmful Algal Bloom events

S-3 EUROHAB - Sentinel products for detecting EUtROphication and Harmful Algal Bloom events

Contact: Dr Gavin Tilstone

S-3 EUROHAB will use the latest satellite technology to improve the way water quality and harmful algal blooms (HABs) are monitored in the English...

Global Observatory of Lake Responses to Environmental Change (GloboLakes)
Completed

Global Observatory of Lake Responses to Environmental Change (GloboLakes)

Contact: Steve Groom

The GloboLakes project investigates how lakes respond to climate change and other environmental influences on a global scale. In order to do this...

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News

Crowning glory for PML

Last night in London, PML won the Environment and Conservation category at the 15th Annual Charity Awards for its Europe-Africa Marine Earth Observation Network (EAMNet) project.

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Indian delegation visits PML

A prominent delegation from India visited PML to celebrate and promote collaboration between UK and India on marine science. 

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Devon research centre shortlisted for charity award

PML whose charitable aims include making science work for society has been shortlisted in the “environment and conservation” category of ‘The Charity Awards’, Civil Society Media’s annual awards programme held to identify, recognise and reward those organisations doing exc...

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Selected key publications

Brewin, RJW; Hyder, K; Andersson, AJ; Billson, O; Bresnahan, PJ; Brewin, TG; Cyronak, T; Dall'Olmo, GD; de Mora, L; Graham, G; Jackson, T; Raitsos, D. 2017. Expanding Aquatic Observations through Recreation. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4. 351, doi:10.3389/fmars.2017.00351

Dall’Olmo, G; Dingle, J; Polimene, L; Brewin, R.J.W; Claustre, H. 2016. Substantial energy input to the mesopelagic ecosystem from the seasonal mixed-layer pump. Nature Geoscience, 9, 820-823. doi: 10.1038/ngeo2818

Groom, S; Sathyendranath, S; Ban, Y; Bernard, S; Brewin, R; Brotas, V; Brockmann, C; Chauhan, P; Choi, J-K; Chuprin, A; Ciavatta, S; Cipollini, P; Donlon, C; Franz, B; He, X; Hirata, T; Jackson, T; Kampel, M; Krasemann, H; Lavender, S; Pardo-Martinez, S; Mélin, F; Platt, T; Santoleri, R; Skakala, J; Schaeffer, B; Smith, M; Steinmetz, F; Valente, A; Wang, M. 2019. Satellite Ocean Colour: Current Status and Future Perspective. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6:485. doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00485

Harris, L; Warren, M; Grant, M; Llewellyn, GM. 2017. Spectral Characterization of the AisaOWL. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 55(5), 2751-2756. doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2017.2653241

Racault, MF; Sathyendranath, S; Menon, N; Platt, T. 2017. Phenological Responses to ENSO in the Global Oceans. Surveys in Geophysics, 38(1), 277-293. doi: 10.1007/s10712-016-9391-1

Tilstone, G; Mallor Hoya, S; Gohin, F; Belo Couto, A; Sa, C; Goela, P; Cristina, S; Airs, R; Icely, J; Zuhlke, M; Groom, S. 2017. Which ocean colour algorithm for MERIS in North West European waters? Remote Sensing of Environment, 189, 132-151. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2016.11.012