For sea level studies, coastal adaptation, and planning for future sea level scenarios, regional responses require regionally-tailored sea level information. Global sea level products from satellite altimeters are now available through the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Climate Change Initiative. Through the efforts of ESA-funded projects such as Baltic SEAL, the regionalisation of these mission datasets is now possible. The project established a state-of-the-art altimetry processing chain for extracting sea level measurements, and improved measurement retrieval, in areas with complex coastlines and prone to sea-ice coverage. It developed a new suite of dedicated along-track and gridded sea level datasets for Baltic Sea stakeholders, spanning the years 1995-2019.
Advances in waveform classification, altimetry echo-fitting, expansion of echo-fitting to a wide range of altimetry missions (including Delay-Doppler altimeters), and Baltic-focused multi-mission cross calibration, enabled all mission data to be integrated into a final gridded product, which is now freely available (www.balticseal.eu). Such advances could be exported to other key areas, particularly those with complex, jagged coastlines. In addition, there are opportunities for these developments to be progressed further within the Baltic Sea test region, and beyond. However, a strategic approach is needed to identify advances made, chart their potential future trajectories, and maximise the benefits for society, scientific advancement, and the researchers themselves.
Identifying opportunities for inter-regional knowledge transfer, and applications development, is a complex and delicate process. It must capture and convey the scope, scale, diversity and relevance of advancements, while distilling it into actionable areas. It must also empower and protect the innovators responsible for these developments. The Baltic SEAL consortium used a participatory foreground-mapping approach, coupled with context analysis to frame strategic recommendations. Capacity building within the consortium was also required, to ensure foreground mapping was harmonised across the 5 international partners. The review process also engaged with actors in the wider Baltic + programme, to maximise identified synergies, and as a form of external review. The final product was an actionable Baltic SEAL Roadmap (also available at www.balticseal.eu), which captured the breadth of scientific development achieved, identified future development needs, opportunities and applications, and potential synergies going forward.
This presentation gives a brief outline of the approach used, and aspects which could be integrated as good practice in other initiatives going forward. It then explores the range of recommendations, and synergy areas which were identified under three themes: (i) further advancements needed in the science; (ii) opportunities for Baltic Sea applications synergies, and (iii) opportunities for inter-regional knowledge transfer.