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CEOS-COAST: A Pathfinder to Address Stakeholder Data, Product and Information Needs in the Coastal Zone

CEOS-COAST: A Pathfinder to Address Stakeholder Data, Product and Information Needs in the Coastal Zone

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Our partners at GEO Blue Planet shared the news about a new study team dedicated to coastal observation. Read all about it in a guest blog here:


The CEOS Coastal Observations and Applications Study Team (COAST) 

What is COAST and what will it do? The CEOS Coastal Observation and Application Study Team (COAST) will identify how CEOS data can be leveraged and exploited to support coastal zone stakeholders and benefit society.  COAST engaged diverse users early on to co-design and co-develop activities bridging CEOS land and aquatic observations, enabling integration of multiple entities and domains, both thematic and technical (e.g., interoperability and analysis ready data for both land and oceans). Focusing on the user-driven value chain, CEOS-COAST identified two initial pilot projects, the first looking at sea impacts to land (flooding and inundation) and then reciprocal land impacts to sea (land cover/use changes and water quality issues, such as coastal eutrophication). The initial focus is environmental data set integration, with a longer-term goal of effective integration with social science data.

Why Now? An increased global focus on coastal zones reflects its importance, both environmentally and socio-economically. Coastal populations reap the benefits of these highly productive ecosystems (e.g., fisheries, port operations) but are threatened by environmental hazards and disasters (e.g., flooding, inundation) as well as anthropogenic impacts to ecosystem health and function (e.g., eutrophication, hypoxia). Furthermore, the importance of coastal zones and relevance to societal interests and needs was recognized in global initiatives including the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Why CEOS? Observing coastal zones is challenging. They are complex, dynamic regions characterized by small-scale, episodic and/or ephemeral events.  Satellite observations are mature now with routine and sustained high quality, high resolution measurements, and well-suited to address changes in time and space across the land-sea interface, from local to global scales. New and improved satellite sensors, product development (merged and blended products) and increasingly sophisticated data processing, discovery and distribution approaches (e.g., cloud-based, machine learning) make CEOS the unique entity to focus coordinated space agency efforts on COAST pilot projects.

Who is in COAST and what will be the benefits?  Representation from all CEOS Working Groups, multiple Virtual Constellations (terrestrial and aquatic), agencies and associate partners, and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Blue Planet and AquaWatch Initiatives comprise the COAST Study Team.  Broadening utilization of Earth Observations within coastal zones for greater societal benefits enables CEOS to engage external stakeholders such as GEO, IOC/GOOS, UN Environment and high visibility activities such as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to provide effective management solutions  to address compelling challenges such as cross-parameter, trans-boundary and trans-disciplinary data integration.  A high priority outcome is to create, demonstrate and transfer satellite applications and required tools and technical infrastructure across the globe, particularly for developing nations, which minimize disaster impact, support coastal sustainable development and maintain healthy ecosystems while enhancing the Blue Economy.

To support the CEOS-COAST pilot project activities, simply contact the authors via email to get involved! Also, find out more on the CEOS website.

Merrie Beth Neely1, 2 and Paul M. DiGiacomo2

1 Global Science and Technology, Inc. (GST), Greenbelt, MD
2 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Center for Satellite Applications and Research (NOAA/NESDIS/STAR), College Park, MD