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Satellite Revolution In Oceanography - Space

Author: Euronews Knowledge

Main category: Natural Sciences (Earth sciences)

euronews knowledge brings you a fresh mix of the world's most interesting know-hows, directly from space and sci-tech experts. This video is a Euronews Knowledge feature from April 24, 2015.

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The field of satellite ocean observation is due to get a boost later this year as ESA's Sentinel-3 will join the fleet of Earth observers already in orbit. It's part of Europe's Copernicus programme, and heralds a new era in ocean observation by offering an uninterrupted flow of data from its speedy polar orbit, now and well into the future.

Jérôme Benveniste, Senior Advisor in Altimetry at ESA, explains how the satellite age has revolutionised oceanography: "When you go across an ocean from north pole to south pole with a satellite it takes 50 minutes, and 50 minutes to complete the circle. Given that it does 14 orbits a day, you have global coverage in practically one day. You'd need almost one year to do that in a boat."

Plymouth is one of England's historic port cities, a place from which sailors, soldiers and scientists have set off to sea for centuries. Today there's a new twist to the tale though, as oceanographers now have a huge fleet of satellites in space to add to their list of high quality data sources in order to study and understand our seas.

Among those on board the Plymouth Quest research vessel as we head out into the English Channel is Spanish scientist Victor Martinez Vicente from Plymouth Marine Laboratory, a specialist in combining data from satellites with data from the sea surface. He takes water samples from a device called a rosette, which plunges off the back of their ship into the Channel waters to take samples at different depths.

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Language: English

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