Baltic SEAL, funded by ESA, was undertaken by a consortium consisting of five partners based in four European countries. Led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the consortium consisted of experts in the fields of Earth Observation systems, satellite altimetry, dynamic ocean topography research, and stakeholder outreach and engagement. As the funding body, the European Space Agency was also a key partner in this initiative, providing the fuel to develop these advances, and the experienced oversight to deliver them.
Technical University of Munich (TUM) is a publicly funded research university with campuses in Munich, Garching, and Weihenstephan. In addition to the role of project lead, TUM also led algorithm development and validation exercises. The Deutsches Geodätisches Forschungsinstitut (DGFI-TUM; German Geodetic Research Institute) is a research institute of the Technische Universität München (TUM) in the Faculty of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering. Satellite altimetry is one of the key areas of expertise of DGFI-TUM. For many years, the institute has been engaged in the determination, monitoring and investigation of global and regional variations of the water level of the ocean (open ocean, sea-ice regions and coastal areas) and of globally distributed inland water bodies on different spatial and temporal scales.
Personnel involved in BalticSEAL:
Marcello Passaro: Lead Scientist of the project and responsible for the fitting of the altimetric signal (retracking). Felix Müller: Responsible for the full chain of dataset production up to the data analysis; he also coordinated the project with Marcello. Denise Dettmering: Calibration among the sea level data coming from the different missions. She was WP Manager for WP3 “Algorithm Development and Validation”. Christian Schwatke: Storage and organization of the data from all the altimetric missions considered in the project. Julius Oelsmann: Data exploitation activities under WP4.
DTU Space is part of The Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The institute conducts research within the areas of Earth Observation and Arctic Studies, specialising in polar remote sensing of ice sheets and sea ice (e.g. with ICESat and CryoSat), airborne lidar and geophysics, and general research in physical geodesy. DTU Space has many years experience in working with the Arctic using remote sensing data, including derivation of the first ice-sheet wide DEMs, work with early satellite altimetry over the ice sheet, and general monitoring of ice sheet changes from ICESat, GRACE and EnviSat.
DTU was responsible for experimental dataset generation and impact assessment. Key personnel for the BalticSEAL project were Ole Anderson, Lars Stenseng and Adili Abulaitijiang.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) is a research and service agency under the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The Marine Research unit aims to monitor and examine ocean and sea-ice processes in the Baltic Sea and in the polar oceans, and to understand how they interact with the climate. This research creates the foundation that is necessary for developing and improving forecasts and operative models and services, leading to safer sea transports in the Baltic and helping to prevent damage to the environment. Research interests of the marine research unit include the development of marine observational systems, understanding variability, and changes of the physical environment in the polar oceans, development of wave-ice-ocean numerical models, development of operational oceanographic modelling systems and remote sensing methods.
Laura Tuomi led the FMI team and the work in WP1 Scientific Requirement Consolidation. Laura Rautiainen and Milla Johansson worked on the collection and processing of tide gauge data, and in the validation of altimetry datasets against tide gauge observations. Jani Särkkä worked in the validation of altimetry datasets against tide gauge observations and in the derivation of relative sea level trends
The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) is the national meteorological institute of the Kingdom of Denmark, serving as a public institution under the ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate. Founded in 1872, DMI provides meteorological, oceanographic and climate research and related services to the community within Denmark and Greenland, including surrounding waters and airspace. The R&D department at DMI comprises approximately 60 researchers, divided into four scientific areas: Numerical Weather Prediction, Ocean Science, Regional Climate and Remote Sensing. The department has extensive experience in storm surge monitoring, modelling and warning.
DMI personnel involved in BalticSEAL were Kristine Madsen (responsible for WP2) and Jacob Hoeyer (technical coordinator of the project) and Ida M. Riggaard.
The UCC team members have worked with data from a wide range of satellite EO instruments including MERIS, MODIS, SAR and higher resolution optical datasets for land, coastal and marine applications. Nested within the MaREI Governance group, Rory and Eimear were skilled at building the connection between stakeholders and data through engagement and requirements analysis. This included experience in looking at EO for Marine Spatial Planning, aquaculture and fisheries, Blue Growth, disaster Risk reduction, ecosystems approaches to fisheries and, mechanisms for improved participatory governance, among others. In combination with a significant capacity and understanding of communications, engaging stakeholders, and the use of social media networks within communications strategies, they were well placed to deliver a scientific roadmap for Baltic SEAL product development beyond the project timeframe.
Within the UCC team, Rory Scarrott was responsible for roadmap development under WP5, and leading the project’s outreach and promotion. He has invaluable experience in promotion activities and scientific roadmap development, particularly in the context of international projects. Michael Sweeney supported the roadmap and handbook efforts, and promoted the achievements of the Baltic SEAL team through digital media. The project also acknowledges the contributions of Eimear Tuohy and Emma Chalençon. Eimear Tuohy was instrumental in establishing the communications infrastructures, and is now working at Techworks Marine. Emma Chalençon shaped the product handbook and co-authored freely available Python codes for novices, and is now working in the Department of Geography at UCC, investigating fire detection in Ireland from orbit.
Overseeing and supporting the Baltic SEAL team were the ESA technical officer, Jérôme Benveniste, assisted by Marco Restano and Américo Ambrózio. Not only did they ensure Baltic SEAL was kept on track for delivery, scrutinized and accepted the deliverables, but they also provided invaluable links to expertise, technology, experience and specialist networks around the world.