Remote sensing enables to study big areas and withdraw data much faster and cheaper than with in situ measurements. Although the entire spectrum of electromagnetic radiation is used in remote sensing, water studies mostly only use the visible part of the spectrum. Water remote sensing helps to find the values of the parameters under observation from the colour of the water. The global carbon cycle and algae blooms are some of the phenomena that can be detected and observed with remote sensing.
One of the fields of Tartu Observatory's water remote sensing work group is working towards implementing the European Union Water Framework Directive. The purpose of the directive is to create a uniform evaluation system for inland waters and increase the quality of the water bodies.
To achieve that goal, Tartu Observatory is collecting regular field data from Estonian lakes and coastal areas, in co-operation with external partners. This data enables to create algorithms that can be used to derive necessary information from data collected with satellites, airborne machines and marine vessels.