What is CERSAT?

CERSAT is Ifremer Satellite Data Processing, Archiving and Distribution Center. It is supported by two departments within Ifremer:

  • the Laboratoire D'Océanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), providing expertise for the development and analysis of innovative spaceborne science data products
  • the SISMER (Scientific Information Systems for the Sea), Ifremer's service in charge of managing numerous marine databases, supporting the processing and dissemination of CERSAT science data products 

The products delivered by CERSAT address the observational description of the state of the ocean and air-sea interactions, its monitoring, evolution and impact on the global climatic system. This ambition is built upon the analysis and combination of ocean observation coming primarly from Earth Observation satellites but also experimental campaigns, in situ measurements and modeling,  to deliver high quality expertise, data products and services to the ocean user community.

Ifremer R&D objectives in physical oceanography focus in particular on better assessing and describing the state of the ocean and the air-sea interactions by :

  • imagining and developing new observation systems, like innovative satellite missions
  • experimenting new ways of probing the ocean surface
  • playing a leading role in the management of multi-partner integrated networks of observation, such as Coriolis
  • improving or implementing methods and algorithms to retrieve geophysical information from available sensors
  • assessing and controling the quality and accuracy of the various instruments
  • adding value to existing data through advanced products and applications
  • integrating and combining the various observation sources and modeling to better understand the interactions and forces in play at sea surface
  • studying and quantifying the phenomena occuring over the ocean, such as extreme events

These activities are mainly led by the Laboratory of Physical and Space Oceanography (LOPS) within which the SIAM () team provides expertise on satellite remote sensing, from the conception of future missions to the development of advanced scientific data products for the user community, distributed by CERSAT.

The CERSAT has been conceived originally as an active satellite data processing and archiving center for the European Space Agency. It has been extended since to be the major data portal on air-sea interactions, delivering a wide range of wind, waves, sea surface temperature, sea ice and fluxes products. These products have been developed and processed at CERSAT, in particular in the context of ESA or CNES missions - such as ERS, Envisat, SMOS,...- or international projects - such as MyOcean, Medspiration or GlobWave. These products are also sometimes obtained from associated partners and distributed here in the frame of collaborative projects such as GHRSST or O&SI SAF.

We also dedicate a large effort to providing tools and services to users to easily seach, visualize, analyse, cross-compare or combine these numerous sources of data. This ever increasing deluge of data pouring the users at a growing pace has also led us to dedicate a large effort to make use of new innovative Big Data and cloud computing technologies to offer new ways of exploring and revisting large archives of data, which are now successfully used in several ongoing projects.

The CERSAT and the scientific team of the Laboratoire d'Océanographie Spatiale are involved in many international projects, studies and experients using these products. All the "life cycle" of the data is thus covered, from raw processing to applications in oceanographical studies, such as ocean circulation model forcing, sea-ice observation, tracking of cyclonic phenomena,...

The CERSAT staff comprises :

  • a research team (Laboratory of Oceanography from Space) composed of 8 permanent researchers, 5 PhD students and 4 post-doc researchers.
  • an engineering team composed of two permanent research engineers, one system engineer, two temporary positions in charge of the data management and processing center
  • an operation subcontrator team composed of two operators and two software engineers for the operation of the CERSAT data center and the maintenance/upgrade of the processing and archiving data center, as well as the dissemination of the data to users and applications

In order to support the activities of the data center, the CERSAT is equiped with :

  • a dedicated operation room hosting the computing resources and the technicians operating the processing chains and data dissemination. The computing resources include :
    • reception systems for the download and ingestion of the data, including a EUMETCAST satellite receiver
    • an operational platform for the real-time processing of observation data, including redundant controllers for the processing job orchestration and redundant servers for the storage and processing
    • multiple storage devices (exabyte, LTO, DLT) for the transfer of data to/from media
    • a massive online storage and cloud computing platform for the reprocessing and analysis of historical missions
  • a storage room archiving the media (thousands of tapes) of the various missions hosted at CERSAT
  • fully equiped offices for the permanent staff and visiting scientists