Our coastal zones contain some of the most dynamic environments on earth. Coastal areas, representing the interface between land and ocean, are scientifically challenging to study. However, the coastal zones are of great interest to a wide range of public and private sector bodies. Research institutes, private industry and regulatory and governmental agencies have produced many different products and services from satellite data for various applications. This information is used for a wide variety of applications including sea level change, sedimentation, environmental monitoring, coastal planning, maritime safety and security and biological diversity mapping and monitoring. As coastal zones are composed of two very heterogeneous and dynamic domains, they are therefore home to a wide variety of ecosystems dependent on very particular environmental parameters. Coastal ecosystems are areas of remarkable biological productivity, highly valued and highly accessible. We rely on coastal areas as the primary producer of fish, shellfish and seaweed, as a filtration zone for pollutants from inland freshwater systems as well as a considerable source of pharmaceuticals and construction material.
Coastal zones not only harbour invaluable ecosystems but are also hugely important from an economic and social point of view. However, anthropogenic pressures exert a significant amount of stress on our coastal environments e.g. global warming, pollution, eutrophication and land occupation. Globally, coasts made up 20% of the Earth’s surface with over 60% of the Earth’s population living within 200km of a coastline. Coastal zone processes are increasingly impacting on human health, economic development and social and cultural resources. A keen scientific understanding of the physical, chemical and biological drivers and processes in coastal environments is vital to assess how human activities affect these important environments, and vice versa. Sustainable coastal development requires accurate and easily accessible knowledge about the dynamic processes which shape our coastal zones as well as long-term monitoring and automatic trend detection tools. Improvements in the availability of coastal information shall greatly benefit our populated coastal regions on a number of levels, from the formation of sustainable policy, management and governance structures to an increased awareness of environmental issues and the wealth of energy and life in our coastal waters.
With the ever increasing abundance of satellite EO data and in-situ data, the need for a common platform where both forms of data may be processed, analysed and shared within the coastal community is more important than ever. By combining EO, in situ and modelling C-TEP shall provide a real opportunity to optimise observation networks, promote the use and harmonisation for EO data within the coastal community and produce reliable environmental observations.
Through the provision of access to large volumes of EO and in-situ data, computing resources, algorithm development space and the fundamental processing software required to extract temporal and spatial information from Big Data, C-TEP shall provide a dedicated service for the observation and monitoring of our coastal environment and society. Integration of satellite EO data, in-situ sensor data and model predictions shall provide an effective means of analysing and understanding the many linked coastal processes across a wide range of space and time scales.