Remote sensing

Satellite observation

Meanwhile, area-wide satellite data have become essential for oceanographic services and for monitoring the marine environment. They supplement observation data obtained by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) through research cruises and station-based in-situ measurements.

Satellite remote sensing at BSH

The BSH receives data from various European and American satellites on a daily basis. These include the polar orbiting NOAA satellites, the European weather satellites METOP or the Sentinel satellites of the European Copernicus programme. The satellites provide images of the Earth's surface in the visible and thermal-infrared spectral range several times a day. Since the NOAA and METOP optical satellites cannot provide surface images in cloudy conditions, the BSH also uses radar data provided by ESA.

The data are processed and archived automatically at BSH and are available to users within one hour, for example as ice and surface temperature maps. Most of the maps combine several satellite overflights, so that data gaps due to cloud cover can be avoided to a large extent.

Importance of water surface temperature

The most important products include maps of the surface temperature (SST) of the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Knowledge of surface temperatures is of great importance for search and rescue, shipping, weather forecasting and tourism. Sea temperature is also one of the most important parameters for monitoring long-term regional and global climate trends.

Daily, weekly and monthly averages are displayed in the 'data' web sides for remote sensing. The monthly data also contain statistical information in the form of bar charts of mean values, ranking or differences from the long-term average. Here you will find further information on the mean values of the water surface temperature for all months and all years.

Further parameters: Chlorophyll and suspended matter

In addition to water temperature, other parameters measured by satellites, such as chlorophyll concentration, are important for assessing the environmental status of the oceans. The BSH receives daily data from various satellites via the service provider EOMAP GmbH & Co KG.

Maps of the chlorophyll distribution in the North Sea and Baltic Sea as well as maps of the suspended matter distribution in the North Sea and Baltic Sea are presented as weekly averages.