France: On Tuesday, ESA awarded Estonia with its first contract in heading an international team to ensure that Sentinel-3’s measurements of ocean colour are of the highest quality possible. This is first contract Estonia has got since becoming an ESA Member State in 2015.
Therefore, measurements from satellites are being used for applications to improve everyday lives and for scientific discovery. It is essential that the integrity of these measurements is maintained to international standards.
Hence, ESA is going to great lengths to ensure that this ‘behind the scenes’ quality-control work is carried out before a satellite is launched in the orbit. However, maintaining accurate and traceable ground-truth measurements is a major challenge for ocean-colour instruments, as it demands detailed characterisation and extensive international collaboration.
Estonia’s Tartu Observatory is now piloting new approaches to control the quality of measurements taken over the oceans by Sentinel-3’s ocean and land colour instrument. Their work involves developing measurement procedures and protocols, and traceable comparison experiments – both in the observatory’s laboratories and through work out at sea.
Director of the Tartu Observatory, Anu Reinart, said, “This new project builds on international collaboration that goes back to when we were part of the validation team working on MERIS data from Envisat, so we feel that our skills and experience have certainly been acknowledged.