Dragon-4, Oceans & coastal zones

Dragon Programme

MRSG participates in a Dragon project on ocean monitoring and coast sustainability. The Dragon Programme is a joint undertaking between ESA and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China and the National Remote Sensing Center of China (NRSCC). Its purpose is to encourage increased exploitation of ESA space resources within China as well as stimulate increased scientific cooperation in the field of Earth Observation (EO) science and applications between China and Europe.

Dragon is aimed at stimulating scientific exchange in EO science and applications by the formation of joint Sino-European teams. Since 2004, this dedicated science and exploitation programme has brought together the European and Chinese EO scientific community, representing more than 160 institutes to work on a broad range of projects designed to encourage increased exploitation of ESA and Chinese Earth observation satellite data. Dragon has also promoted collaborative research at ESA, through participation of young Chinese scientists as international research fellowships.

More info on Dragon Program can be found here.

The Dragon project: Monitoring from space for ocean and coast sustainability

Marine and coastal zones are playing more and more important roles in the economic development of the two continents. However, the vulnerability of regional seas and coastal zones are also experiencing huge pressure during the development. Therefore, marine and coastal sustainability is a very important issue that both China and Europe is facing now. Monitoring from space is playing an indispensable role in marine and coastal environment protection, which also has shown strong capability of promoting the sustainable development of marine and coastal zones. The proposed program aims at combining the information extraction from space data and numerical modeling to achieve the service from upstream to downstream in support marine and coastal sustainability. In particularly, we will focus on the following three topics: 1) Derivation of environmental factors in the marineatmosphere boundary layer, such as ocean surface wind, wave, current, from spaceborne satellite data, particularly from spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data; 2) Combining the new satellite techniques, the derived marinemeteo parameters and numerical modeling for marine pollution detection and tracing; 3) Demonstrating the coastal monitoring system based on satellite observation for ocean and coast sustainability. The deliverables of the program will include: 1) Innovation methodologies and algorithms of deriving marinemeteo parameters from spaceborne SAR data; 2) detecting and tracing marine pollution (oil spill and algae bloom) using both optical remote sensing and spaceborne SAR data; 3) and demonstrating a preoperational system for coastal protection based on satellite observations and numerical modeling. The funding to support the proposed program is mainly from three sources: 1) The respective inner funding supporting for international cooperation; 2) The respective research funding of each teams involved in the project; 3)
Team members from China and Germany will also try to seek available SinoGermany cooperation funding.

Resarch Topic: Marine pollution detection and tracing based on satellite observation and modeling

Remote sensing observations provide rapid, frequent, synoptic and long term measurements of the marine surface waters, and thus they are playing an important role in the monitoring marine pollution, e.g., oil spill, and algae bloom. In the proposed project, we aim to:
1) develop novel algorithms/methods to detect oil spill and algae bloom using both spaceborne SAR and optical remote sensing data, e.g., MODIS, Sentinel-2, the Chinese GF-1 and GF-2;
2) Combing multiple satellite observation and numerical modeling to trace oil spill pollution and algae bloom.
3) Demonstration of coastal monitoring system of marine pollution based on space observation and numerical modeling.   

General methods:
1) For the oil spill detection and discrimination using spaceborne SAR data, we will combine the new methods, for example, based on polarimetric SAR, and the traditional methods, e.g., neutral network. Multiple spaceborne SAR observations and the GNOME model will be used together to trace oil spill trajectories.
2) To detect algae blooms using optical remote sensing, the threshold method will be applied. The advective component of phytoplankton/algae bloom can be estimated using simulated drifters driven by sea surface current, sea surface wind and wave.
3) A web-based system by integrating multiple satellite observations and numerical modeling will be used to demonstrate the tracing of macro algae bloom (green tide) in the Yellow Sea.

Project team - Lead Investigators

Prof. Li Xiao-ming

Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Dr. Suman Singha

German Aerospace Center

Ass. Prof. Konstantinos Topouzelis

Department of Marine Sciences, Universty of the Aegean