MERIS potential for land applications
The Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), to be flown on the Envisat platform, contributes to the effort made by space agencies to generate Earth observation data that are responsive to the needs of the users. Although optimized for oceanic applications, this instrument should also be useful for a range of terrestrial investigations. This paper reviews the relevance of a suite of features specific to MERIS (e.g. fine radiometric and spectral resolution, programmability, the availability of an onboard calibration system) for terrestrial applications. Scientific challenges related to scale issues, the definition of appropriate algorithms for the optimal exploitation of these data, the opportunity for synergistic studies and the comparison of MERIS data with other data collected by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and other precursor or future instruments are reviewed. The urgent need for an intensive and sustained research and development programme to define and validate a panoply of highlevel products optimized for terrestrial applications is stressed.