Satellites collect huge amounts of information about our planet’s oceans and land masses every day, and complex mathematical algorithms help us process and make sense of it. However, since these algorithms are designed to work best for either one or the other, it is more difficult to get high-quality, accurate information about where the two come together—the coasts. That’s where NOAA’s Committee on Earth Observation Satellites—Coastal Observations, Applications, Services, and Tools (CEOS COAST) comes in.
CEOS COAST is a multinational project, co-led by NOAA and India’s ISRO, that aims to improve the accuracy of coastal data based on satellite and land-based observations. Their work will improve the way we study how the sea can affect the land, such as in large-scale flooding events, as well as how land usage affects coastal ecosystems, including but not limited to water quality issues and the root causes of coastal runoff and sediment deposits. CEOS COAST has been working collaboratively with stakeholders in industries such as agriculture, construction, and commercial/recreational fishing to support all forms of decision makers from parents deciding which beach to take their kids to, to sailors navigating the coast, to policymakers taking action on climate change and more.
Due to this work, the project was recently endorsed by the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) as an initial Action of the United Nation’s Ocean Decade plan that will span from 2021–2030, and aims to bring together governments, industry, academics, NGOs, and other stakeholders to study our oceans and develop conservation solutions. CEOS COAST was recognized for its use of innovative technology, for its focus on diversity and inclusivity, and for fostering trust and collaboration between scientists and lay users of ocean knowledge.
CEOS-COAST pilot projects are uniquely capable of using Earth Observation technologies to meet several of the 17 UN-designated sustainable development goals for the Ocean Decade initiative. The themes of these projects include disaster risk reduction and coastal resilience among continental shorelines and small island nations.
Read more about CEOS COAST in this special issue of ECO Magazine.