The Baltic SEALĀ  Project

The Baltic SEAL project was an eighteen month project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), under the remit of the Earth Observation Envelope Programme 5 (EOEP5) Regional Initiative. It arose in direct response to major discussion points gathered during the “Baltic from Space Workshop” hosted by FMI in Helsinki in March, 2017.

This project was part of the ESA Baltic Initiative, a wider Baltic region activity looking at salinity dynamics, sea-level, land-sea biogeochemical linkages, 4D sea reconstruction and geodetic SAR. The ESA Baltic Initiative aims to ultimately foster a coordinated approach to advance EO-based science, novel applications and data exploitation infrastructures serving the specific needs of the Baltic community through a strong collaboration with Baltic institutions and national and EU programmes.

A key element of this initiative, Baltic SEAL created and validated a novel multi-mission sea level (MMSL) product for the Baltic Sea (BS). It provided an advanced sea-level information product to Baltic Sea stakeholders, and improved the performances of the current ESA Sea Level Climate Change Initiative.

For more information on the team that delivered this project, click here.

For more information on the science of satellite altimetry, click here.

Why the Baltic Sea?

The Baltic Sea region is the perfect test environment for developing advanced sea-level products using satellite data. The structurally complex coastline, in combination with seasonal sea-ice formation presents significant challenges for extracting useful sea-level information from satellite-data. Complimentary to this, the Baltic Sea can be considered a semi-enclosed area, which has been observed and monitored for several decades before the advent of satellite altimetry.

Monitoring continues to this day, enabling us to compare the measurements from satellite-data, to those obtained from the Sea itself at ground level. Using archives of ground data, we modeledĀ  the big picture into the past, understanding how our Sea has changed over several decades, and established best practices for monitoring it into the future.

This combination of factors meant the Baltic Sea was a rare opportunity to advance ocean science, and our understanding of measuring the oceans using satellite-based altimetry sensors. Advanced solutions in the pre-processing and post-processing of satellite altimetry can be tested with the semi-enclosed nature of the sea magnifying our ability to explore the coastal complexity and sea-ice challenges. In effect, we can develop and test advanced solutions in the pre-processing and post-processing of satellite altimetry data. Knowledge can then be transferred to global initiatives, such as the future phases of the European Space Agency’s Sea Level Climate Change Initiative.