MAGAL: Magal Constellation - Setting the cornerstone of a future ocean and climate change monitoring constellation, based on radar altimeter data combined with gravity and ocean temperature and salinity measurements
The Ocean has been assuming a more prominent role both as a mobiliser of technological, scientific, economic and social development, as well as a resource that must be protected and valued. One of the best ways to prospect, monitor and value the open ocean, in an economical and sustainable manner, is by leveraging on the Space/Earth interactions, in line with the “Atlantic Interactions” research agenda and, at a global scale, the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Consortium seeks to understand long-term variability in local, regional, and global climate induced by ocean steric (temperature and salinity) variations. Concurrent monitoring of land water storage (soil moisture, snow, surface water, and groundwater) needs to go hand-in-hand with the oceanic measurements. Innovative data assimilation techniques need to be developed with the state-of-the-art ocean and land modeling to provide a consistent and systematic Earth dataset.
Improved spatial and temporal resolution can be obtained by developing the next generation of radar altimeter instruments to be adapted for a future constellation of small satellites (the MAGAL Constellation). Through the Consortium’s extensive experience in multi-satellite and multi-variate data assimilation, MAGAL also includes an innovative data and information processing and visualization system, using advanced high-performance modeling, estimation techniques, statistical and scientific machine learning methods, and error analysis in data gathered from different sources. MAGAL will foster the growth of the national scientific and engineering capacity to generate innovation and industrial development, by combining profit driven partners, like EFACEC and Omnidea, with more scientific oriented ones, like CIIMAR, ITAveiro, IST, FGF and UBI, through research and interface entities, like CEiiA, +Atlantic and the AIR Centre. Concurrently, MAGAL promotes the internationalization of Portuguese entities, taking advantage of the experience and organizational culture of the American institutions like UT Austin.