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Impact of Envisat loss on eSurge

Since losing contact with Envisat on 8th April, the European Space Agency has been repeatedly trying to regain control of the satellite, but to no avail. Although engineers will continue their attempts, the likelihood of success is considered to be low, and so on 9th May ESA declared the end of this extremely successful mission. For more details, see the ESA press release.

EnvisatDespite it having already exceeded its design lifetime, the success of the mission had led many people to hope that it could remain in use until the launch of the Sentinel spacecraft. The loss of Envisat has forced many projects to reassess how they will obtain their data in the next few years.

The eSurge team is also assessing the impact of the Envisat loss. Although we will still be able to provide historic data via the SEARS portal, it does mean that future surge events will not have as much data available as we would have liked, especially during phase 2 when we will operate the eSurge Live demonstration service.

However our initial analysis is that in most cases sufficient alternative data is available. For open ocean and coastal altimetry,in addition to Jason-1/2 we can now rely on good quality altimetric data from Cryosat, and we will add AltiKa when it is launched in the second half of 2012. For Sea Surface Temperature, GHRSST will cope with the loss of AATSR, so we do not expect any major impact.

The major impact is expected to be on SAR wave mode spectra, although we will continue to investigate workarounds and alternative data sources.

To summarise, although the lack of future data from Envisat is inevitably a great loss to any project concerned with earth observation, we believe that we can continue to provide a wide variety of useful data without it. In collaboration with our users, we will continue to investigate how best to mitigate the loss of the Envisat data.