Preparation for Sentinel-2 Exploitation in the Agricultural Sector
Agricultural production as the source of nutrition for the Earth population is one of the main factors for sustainable development - which is reflected in the first UN Millennium Development Goal "Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger". The current food crisis has further shown how agriculture production and its markets are globally connected, exhibit a wide geographical variation and high fluctuations over time (see current World Bank Food Price Index).
In response to such growing pressure on the world food supply an increasing demand exists for agricultural monitoring providing intelligence for international and nation policy making, reporting or managing food emergencies. Earth Observation (EO) can contribute to agricultural monitoring as a proven source for transparent, timely and consistent information on the agricultural productivity at global and regional scale.
The up-coming Sentinel-2 mission has the optimal capacity for regional to global agriculture monitoring in terms of resolution, revisit frequency and coverage. Further, its compatibility to the Landsat missions allows to build on a long historic time series of observations. Such Earth Observation data can provide estimates on crop area extent, crop type and state, which can serve as indicators for the agricultural productivity of the respective region.
The challenge of Earth Observation for global agriculture monitoring is the extreme variability of cropping systems and agricultural practices typical for the different climates and regions of the Earth. Appropriate observation schemes and algorithms will have to be developed and adapted to the specific requirements of the respective crops and agricultural practices.
In this context ESA is launching the Sentinel-2 Agriculture project which aims at providing to the international user community validated algorithms and best practices to produce EO products for agriculture monitoring preparing for the exploitation of Sentinel-2 observations. Sentinel-2 Agriculture main activities will focus on user driven development of agricultural EO products, benchmarking and validating required algorithms and demonstration of resulting Sentinel-2 EO products and services to users of the global agricultural community. Algorithm development and validation over JECAM sites as well as demonstration activities up to national scale will be supported by the project. Special attention will be given within the project to the unprecedented temporal revisit frequency, the additional spectral bands and the 290 km swath at 10-20 meter resolution of the Sentinel-2 mission.