The Sentinel-2A satellite has transmitted new images of a huge algal bloom in the Baltic Sea caused by warm weather and calm seas.
The European Space Agency (ESA) says the imaging exceeds expectations.
The Baltic Sea faces many serious challenges, including toxic pollutants, deep-water oxygen deficiencies, and toxic blooms of cyanobacteria affecting the ecosystem, aquaculture and tourism.
But the situation is improving. It was so bad that in 1974 the Helsinki Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area was created to improve the state of the sea. Since then, the health of the Baltic Sea has improved dramatically.
Sentinel-2 is an Earth observation mission developed by the ESA as part of the Copernicus Program to perform terrestrial observations in support of services such as forest monitoring, land cover changes detection, and natural disaster management. It consists of two identical satellites, Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B.
Sentinel-2A was launched on 23 June, primarily to monitor land and vegetation for Europe’s environmental monitoring Copernicus programme. This new satellite carries a high-resolution instrument that covers 13 spectral bands with a swath width of 290 kilometres.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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