Satellite Data Needs Review

The Southern Ocean Satellite Data Task Team report survey findings 

Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctic Data via NASA 

SOOS, SCAR and WCRP’s CliC recently sanctioned a community review in order to provide a consolidated user voice. This review was intended to address successes, shortcoming, and other disparities in polar remote sensing, and to articulate the satellite needs specific to the Southern Ocean. An open survey, spanning a wide range of research and operational disciplines and goals, received 59 unique responses from 19 countries worldwide.

Most survey respondents were researchers, while only two identified primarily as operational remote sensing users. Expertise of respondents came from communities such as sea-ice research (13), oceanography (11), marine biology and ecology (8), glaciology / permafrost / snow science (6), sea-level change (5), ocean color remote sensing (5), climate science (5), ocean winds (2), data collection and management (2), numerical weather prediction (1), atmospheric chemistry (1), and geomagnetism (1), with some overlap in areas of expertise.

Figure with breakdown of responses

Breakdown of responses to survey by nation

To ensure that the Southern Ocean community was accurately captured, and to broaden feedback in key disciplines and user groups, expert individuals were also contacted and solicited for input. None of the survey respondents provided feedback on sea surface salinity, surface winds, or atmospheric parameters, so 9 experts from these specialties were consulted to provide their supplementary perspectives. In addition, a draft version of the review was made available for public consultation via major community listservs. Over 25 respondents from a range of specialties commented during that final stage of review development.

This range of responses, contributions, and comments has been brought together into a manuscript by Allen Pope, Penelope Wagner, Robert Johnson, Jamie Shutler, Jenny Baeseman, and Louise Newman. It articulates a comprehensive overview of satellite data requirements for the Southern Ocean for the coming decade. The manuscript is designed to stand as a strategy paper that provides the rationale and information required for future strategic planning and investment. Full recommendations are detailed by variable (e.g., sea ice variables, SST, SSH, ocean color, etc.) as well as summarized. The report provides a starting point for scientists to understand more about Southern Ocean processes and their global roles; for funders to understand the desires of the community; for commercial operators to safely conduct their activities in the Southern Ocean; and for space agencies to gain insight into planning Southern Ocean-related acquisitions and missions.

A summary of findings was submitted to the NASA Decadal Survey call for white papers. The report is currently in review at Antarctic Science and will be made available to the SOOS community as soon as possible.

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