The Black Sea is a region of particular interest in terms of its past and present level of ecological degradation by anthropogenic influences among the European Seas and highly dynamic and complex eddy-driven circulation system. The Black Sea receives drainage from almost one-third of the continental Europe (five times its surface area) which, it is relatively isolated from the world ocean and is highly vulnerable to external environmental stresses. Its coastal areas are at the forefront of these pressures. Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) should be used as a long term management tool, in order to protect the population, sustain exploitation of coastal resources and mitigate the effects of climate change and coastal hazards. A crucial element of the restoration and rehabilitation initiatives is the implementation of a continuous monitoring and operational observing system in the region. Earth Observation (EO) data can significantly contribute to the advance of oceanographic knowledge in the area. Services proposed to be developed will act as a multi-thematic information collection and analysis tool to support the decision-makers responsible for integrated coastal management implementation in the Black Sea coastal areas. It will also support the strategy concerning the Blue Growth in the region, by facilitating the access to key environmental variables related to aquaculture, pollution and habitat management. It will help develop sectors that have a high potential for sustainable jobs and growth, such as mussels farming, fisheries or coastal tourism.The following 5 thematic services are envisaged to be developed under the EO4CZM project:
- S1. Provision of a Sentinel-2 atmospheric corrected seamless mosaic, which will be available on-demand, for user defined regions and time periods. It will be produced taking full advantage of the high spatial resolution (10 m) and the multiple spectral wavelengths offered by the MSI sensor.
- S2. Thematic adapted remote sensing indices. This service will address particular, less complex needs and will include two categories of indices: i) general, well known indices, from an extensive list of pre-defined ones, such as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and ii) new custom defined indices (e.g. ice detection on the Danube main branches and water bodies extent).
- S3. High-resolution products for water quality monitoring in Danube Delta – high resolution, high quality datasets related to deltaic environments will be produces. The service will address several water related indicators, such as turbidity, Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) or Chlorophyll (Chl-a) concentrations.
- S4. Aquaculture resources management – improved EO based products will be developed in order to assist aquaculture activities in the coastal region of the Black Sea. Of prime interest are coastal SPM and Chl-a concentration datasets, improved in terms of regional algorithms and spatial resolution (300 m and better). Such products can help stakeholders, using long time series of EO data, to better assess the potential of specific sites and to analyze the occurrence of negative effects of nutrient pollution that can trigger eutrophication processes. These essential water quality indicators will be afterwards integrated into an added value product, in the form of an aquaculture suitability index.
- S5. Mapping of coastal geomorphological features – anthropic modifications of sedimentary budget in the coastal region, together with other engineering works have led to an increased pressure on the coastal area and development of multiple erosion sectors, with important impacts on the economic activities (loss of beach areas for touristic purposes) or biodiversity (through habitat degradation). Thus, the current service will develop tools to analyze and monitor, based on time series of high resolution satellite data (Sentinel-2), the evolution of submerged sandbars, which are natural bathymetric features with significant role in coastal protection.