More than 150 researchers from across Europe, Canada, the United States, China and as far away as Chile have come together to recount their many and varied uses of a single instrument – a desk-sized camera called MERIS, hurtling through space aboard Envisat at more than seven kilometres per second.
The Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) is one of ten sensors on Envisat, looking down from the earthward face of the spacecraft. It works by recording visible and near-infrared radiation reflecting from our planet across a range of up to 15 programmable wavebands, to a resolution of either 1200 or 300 metres.
This flexibility and the excellent radiometric and spectral performance designed into the instrument means that scientists can make use of MERIS data across many different fields, variously obtaining information on Earths oceans, coastal zones, land surfaces and atmosphere – and potentially combining it with results from other Envisat instruments.
Since MERIS was launched as part of Envisat in March 2002 there have been several gatherings concerned with complex calibration and validation processes needed to fine-tune instrument performance, but last weeks MERIS Users Workshop 2003 was the first time that users of MERIS products had a chance to meet up, share initial results and exchange their views of MERIS with ESA and each other.
Peter Regner | alfa
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