Society is facing today a number of global environmental challenges requiring the better understanding and monitoring of the interconnected Earth System processes. Ocean is one key gearing of this complex engine. However, knowledge gaps remain in order to better understand, characterize and monitor its role in all major Earth System global cycles (e.g. water, energy, gas, and in particular carbon, momentum cycles…). To fill these gaps, dedicated research activities are needed, embracing a large number of disciplines as physical oceanography, biogeochemistry, ecology, and further exploring the interaction of the ocean with the other components of the Earth System, in particular the atmosphere, the land, and the cryosphere. To make the best of it, this research shall be based on the optimal and synergistic exploitation of all available observing systems (EO satellite data, in-situ and citizen observations), advanced modelling capabilities, interdisciplinary research and new technologies.
The ESA Ocean Science Cluster aims at contributing to this objective, promoting networking, collaborative research, and fostering international collaboration. It involves different ESA funded projects and activities bringing together different expertise, data and resources in a synergistic manner ensuring that the final result may be bigger than the sum of the parts.
With this approach ESA wants to contribute to establish a stronger European Ocean research area in close collaboration with the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation and other European and international partners.
To put words into action, in the coming months ESA is planning a number of activities and opportunities to bring the cluster to life as part of the new ESA’s FutureEO programme.