Earth observations for large ocean states

Blog / Leah Mupas Segui / December 10, 2020

In a region where there is 55 times more water than land mass[1], Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) could be thought of as large ocean states. The Pacific Ocean encompasses 28% of global economic exclusive zones and the livelihoods of its people have substantial reliance on healthy marine ecosystems. The use of Earth observations can help PICTs make informed decisions to manage and enhance the resiliency of their oceans.

GEO Blue Planet is the ocean and coastal arm of GEO, and our work of linking ocean and coastal observations with society is driven by stakeholder needs. Pacific communities best understand their own challenges and information needs and GEO Blue Planet wants to listen and work collaboratively with Pacific communities.

GEO Blue Planet has existing projects that harness ocean and coastal observations that could be of use to PICTs:

Eutrophication tool and Sustainable Development Goal 14.1 reporting

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals includes target 14.1 - reduce the impacts of pollution through prevention of marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including nutrient pollution. Many countries do not have the capacity to collect enough nutrient data to track progress towards target 14.1, therefore GEO Blue Planet worked with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Esri to support the development of digital tools to measure eutrophication using openly and freely available satellite data. You can read an overview of the project here.

Satellite chlorophyll-a concentration and the algal bloom index product near southern California. Image and data from GEO Blue Planet, Esri and UNEP.
Satellite chlorophyll-a concentration and the algal bloom index product near southern California. Image and data from GEO Blue Planet, Esri and UNEP.


Low-lying coral reef-lined islands and coasts are vulnerable to marine flooding. Current tools developed for sandy shorelines do not accurately predict wave-driven flooding on reef-lined islands, existing techniques for reef-lined islands are expensive and computer intensive. The aim of this project is to provide cost-effective, accessible forecasts of wave-driven flood events for coral reef-lined coasts anywhere in the world.

Earth Observations for Tuna Fisheries Management Workshop Series

This workshop series discussed fisheries management challenges and highlighted the use of Earth observations tools for sustainable fisheries management. Topics included climate change impacts on tuna fisheries management, sustainable tuna management and biodiversity conservation, using Earth observations to reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and Earth observations data for habitat mapping and operational forecasting systems for tuna.

Moving forward, our engagement strategy will be to listen to the challenges faced by the Pacific community and co-design activities. We look forward to making personal connections, learning more about information needs, and supporting stakeholder-driven capacity development in the region.

[1]Seidel and Lal 2010, Economic value of the Pacific Ocean to the Pacific Island Countries and Territories, IUCN Oceania.


About the author

Leah Mupas Segui

Leah Mupas Segui is a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with GEO Blue Planet hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NESDIS Satellite Oceanography and Climatology Division. She facilitates partnerships that bridge the gap between Earth observations data and services to deliver usable information to decision makers. Her current work involves the creation of information hubs to support the use of EO data in the global monitoring and management of marine pollution, disaster risk and fisheries.


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