The CERSAT was created in 1991 in order to ensure the off-line processing of ERS-1 and ERS-2 altimeter, scatterometer and microwave sounder data. This task includes acquisition, algorithmic processing, quality control, archiving and distribution of the data to the oceanographic community. In conjunction with scientists of the Département d'Océanographie Spatiale at IFREMER, the CERSAT groups together all skills required to act as a major data distribution and expertise center in oceanography from space.
The operational center
In its role as a processing center in the ERS ground segment, the CERSAT has designed an operating system enabling :
- the archiving and processing of radar altimeter and micro-wave sounder data (ATSR/MW).
- the distribution of radar altimeter and micro-wave data products generated at the CERSAT.
- the archiving and distribution of real-time products generated by the European Space Agency in the ground stations.
Moreover, the CERSAT processes and distributes - through IFREMER funding - scatterometer wind products generated from real-time data. Since 1996, the operational center has opened its operating and archiving system to other satellite sensors (NSCAT and SeaWinds scatterometers, Special Sensor Microwave Imager SSM/I,...) and new value-added products (mean wind fields, polar sea ice grids, and colocated products...).
The operational center is operated by a technical team of 5 people. The CERSAT engineers monitor the data processing, ensuring quality control, interfaces with the different entities of the ERS ground segment, as well as maintenance or improvement of the system.
Thanks to its knowledge in physical measurements, the scientific team of the Département d'Océanographie Spatiale ensures:
- the quality control of the generated products, monitoring the quality of the retrieved geophysical quantities (to detect potential instrumental effects) and tracking possible sensor drifts or dysfunction.
- the improvement of algorithms used to estimate geophysical parameters from instrumental data.
- the development of value-added products (global gridded fields, sea-ice maps, colocated datasets from various satellite sensors,...)
The products generated by the CERSAT are distributed free of charge to scientists (refer to the data rubric for more information on data distribution) :
- on-line, through CERSAT ftp and web sites, enabling data subsetting and extraction according to temporal and geographical criteria.
- on CD-ROM for some products (delivered to more than 2000 users in the world).
The CERSAT also presents and makes its products known to the oceanographic community through international meetings and workshops.
Projects and applications
The CERSAT and the scientific team of the Département d'Océanographie Spatiale are involved in other projects, studies and experients using these products. All the "life cycle" of the data is thus covered, from raw processing to applications in oceanographical studies, such as ocean circulation model forcing, sea-ice observation, tracking of cyclonic phenomena,...