Remote Sensing | European Marine Board

Remote Sensing

Optical remote sensing methods provide the opportunity for large scale regular ocean observing of physical and biological parameters. Our Working Group on Remote Sensing aimed to provide an overview of the research and infrastructure needs and future scientific challenges associated with remote sensing of shelf seas ecosystems.


Position Paper 12, Remote Sensing of Shelf Sea Ecosystems (February 2008)


Observation of the ocean by remote sensing devices on Earth orbiting satellites has developed from the first proof-of concept mission to become an essential element of 21st century oceanography. In addition to significant scientific advances leading to an enriched understanding of dynamic ocean processes, physical properties such as sea surface temperature and slope, wave height and surface winds are now measured globally at high resolution with sufficient precision and accuracy to provide reliable inputs to operational numerical ocean forecasting systems. Ocean colour remote sensing techniques have also been developed in order to measure the concentration of chlorophyll and optical attenuation in the surface layers of the ocean.

However, there is an increasingly urgent requirement for regular monitoring of shelf sea ecosystems in order to meet international treaty obligations for protecting the health status of European coastal waters.

This background information is based on the status of remote sensing at the time the Marine Board-ESF was involved with this foresight activity. Since then there have been further development and not all information reflect the current status.



  • Informing those responsible for planning and funding marine science, remote sensing technology and the Earth observation space programme on the current state of remote sensing
  • Enlighten those who are concerned with planning and funding the development of operational oceanography in Europe
  • Inspire the scientific community to engage in the intellectual endeavor that is needed to make scientific progress.



  • 31 August 2006, ESF-COST Office, Brussels, Belgium
  • 24 May 2006, ESF-COST Office, Brussels, Belgium
  • 30 November 2005, ESF-COST Office, Brussels, Belgium



  • Chair - Ian S. Robinson, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
  • David Antoine, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche (LOV), France
  • Miroslaw Darecki, Institute of Oceanology, Poland
  • Patrick Gorringe, EuroGOOS, Sweden
  • Lasse Pettersson, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Norway
  • Kevin Ruddick, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Belgium
  • Rosalia Santoleri, CNR Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima, Italy
  • Herbert Siegel, Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde, Germany
  • Patrick Vincent, Ifremer, France
  • Marcel R. Wernand, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research Physical Oceanography Marine Optics & Remote Sensing, The Netherlands
  • Guy Westbrook, Marine Institute, Ireland
  • Giuseppe Zibordi, Joint Research Center, Italy


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