The Black Sea and Danube region is constituted of three parts – the sea basin, coastal areas and catchment areas. They must be understood as a whole for an accurate understanding of the region's dynamics in a systematic and holistic manner. The Danube catchment, by far the biggest tributary of Black Sea, constitutes the second largest river basin in continental Europe with its area of more than 800.000 km2. Shared by 19 countries (nine of which are EU Member States), more than 81 million people of different cultures and languages live here, making it also the world’s most international river basin. Although the countries are very different in terms of economic strength, the region is strongly interlinked, with potential for further integration and growth. Thus, the region is connected through both opportunity and challenge. The policies of the countries are interdependent, however, they all benefit greatly from improved cooperation in, for example, completing missing transport links, reducing pollution and danger from floods, sustainable management of the environment, lowering dependency on energy providers from outside the region, and addressing demographic change. This presentation is about two parallel activities in ESA's Black Sea and Danube Initiative - Applications Line:
1) The Danube Environmental Risk Assessment Platform (DEAP) provides a suite of applications based on Earth Observation data to support environmental risk management within the Danube catchment. The purpose of the platform is to provide regional stakeholders, who currently do not regularly use EO data, with access to dynamic environmental assessments using such datasets. The service comprise a suite of cloud-based applications (deployed on CREODIAS DIAS) which are able to detect, monitor, analyse and characterise the sources of environmental problems using available EO data in conjunction with in-situ inputs, numerical modeling outputs and other reference data to deliver meaningful (actionable) maps, statistics and other data across 19 countries. At an operational level, the service identified industrial waste discharge, transport waste discharge, agricultural run-off, and ecosystem degradation in near real time, and represents a unique tool for regional agencies. Stakeholders include environmental protection agencies, port authorities, fisheries management agencies and development agencies, etc.
2) Earth Observation services for Black Sea Protection (EO4BSP) overlap the entire area of the Black Sea and propose a holistic approach that covers different elements with potential environmental impact. The project is implementing six services that are being delivered to a number of 13 stakeholders from the Black Sea riparian countries and one International organization - The Black Sea Commission. The services comprise a suite of cloud-based applications which will detect, monitor, analyze and characterize the sources of environmental problems using available EO imagery in conjunction with in-situ inputs and other reference data. Service applications are developed for deployment in the cloud and shall employ advanced dispersion modeling techniques in conjunction with EO Data to deliver meaningful (actionable) maps, statistics, and other data. The services are: S1 - Land Use Land Cover coastal changes, where analysis and modelling of land-use change trends and urbanization allow us to evaluate the spatial development patterns providing a key for effective planning practices in the context of Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) implementation; S2 - Eutrophication, which represents one of the most severe and widespread environmental problems for coastal zone managers; S3 - Marine front identification and mesoscale circulation, providing data fusion, satellite observations, numerical modelling and data assimilation, as well as skill assessment and metrics with a focus on sea state, temperature, turbidity, and SPM, identification of ocean fronts; S4 - Oil tankers path identification, making use of historical AIS data; S5 - Oil spills identification and monitoring, where Sentinel-1 Ground Range Detected Level 1 data is used to detect and characterize possible oil spills; S6 - High-resolution water quality monitoring in anchorage areas, focussing on chlorophyll a (chl_a), turbidity, and total suspended matter (TSM).