Satellites over Malta are a source of information about the sea currents around us

The satellites in space over Malta produce useful information about the sea currents and the effects they have on the Maltese coast.  A. group of researchers from the University of Malta have created a technological system by means of which they can meticulously analyse the images sent by satellite in order to forecast the weather, among other things.

The researchers are carrying out the project, known as SAT Fire, which aims to improve the quality of satellite images, including those taken by Landsat-8.

“We are processing satellite imagery to improve their resolution, the quality of how much detail we can see, we can also improve the performance of certain hydronic models which can tell use what currents are passing through,” said one of the researchers,  Gianluca Valentino, who is an engineer.

Mr Valentino said that the researchers have created a technological process so that satellite images can be made clearer.

“When it comes to the currents, the issue is the resolution which right now is very low, 1 km per pixel, which is too small of a scale, it is too coarse to see the temperatures and currents around the coast especially where there is an interaction between land and sea. Therefore since we can improve the resolution of these images we can come up with a more accurate monitoring of  currents around the coast.”

Mr Valentino added that the project is comparing the images of Landsat-8 with other satellites including Sentinel 3. He explained that the information from the satellites which give the temperature of the sea surface can give a clearer picture which is crucial for divers and those who are taking part in search and rescue operations, as well as the monitoring and security of the coastal region.

“Just like we check the weather forecast, there are those who are checking the forecast of the currents, and the fact that we provide a more accurate forecast can be of greater benefit to these people,” he pointed out.

The project has obtained the support of the National Spatial Research Foundation within the Malta Council for Science and Technology. The researchers form part of a multi-disciplinary team from the department of Geoscience and Computer Engineering at the University of Malta.