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OSG Studenten

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OSG Studenten

Location Artwork: 
Groeneplaats
1791 CN Den Burg
Number 2 (see map)

DR. JAIME PITARCH

Dr Jaime Pitarch, electrical engineer:‘In my research, I use images of the seas and oceans produced by satellites 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In themselves, these images aren’t all that spectacular. The pixels of the digital photos are at least 300 by 300 metres, so I don’t see very much detail. But I cancollect huge numbers of images from every corner of the ocean. Every few days, the same satellite comes back over exactly the same spot, so I get a wealth of information, in both time and space. And for many years in a row. In this way I can get an impression of, say, the amount of algae, and hence of CO2,, in the oceans. And this, in turn, is important if we want to understand climate change, for example.’

Very many images of the water surface 
Electrical engineer Dr Jaime Pitarch Portero is not especially impressed by the quality of the satellite images he receives on his computer day in, day out; it’s mainly the quantity that enthuses him. ‘On sites like Google Maps you can see satellite images with much more detail than I work with. Google Maps even shows individual cars driving along the street. My images have a pixel size of at least 300 by 300 metres, so I don’t see very much detail. But the satellite I use does produce many more images than Google Maps. I can get a picture of exactly the same stretch of ocean every other day. Day after day, year after year. In this way I can monitor many features of the seas and oceans around the world to see if anything changes.’

Algae as COindicators
Pitarch is especially interested in the colours of his images. ‘The amount of green in the photos, for example, says something about photosynthesis. This in turn says something about the amount of atmospheric carbon that is sequestered in the ocean. A large proportion of the CO2emitted by human society is eventually stored in the ocean in the form of algae. So it’s vital to know if anything changes in that quantity of algae. I can distil this from the satellite images.’

Blue-green algae
Pitarch does not just study the oceans on a global scale. ‘Via the satellite we can also keep an eye on whether a dangerous bloom of blue-green algae is developing somewhere in a bay or lake. All of these things can also be measured from a boat, and in much more detail than from space. But the incredible amount of data I get from the satellite in space and time can’t be matched by manual methods.’

More information about Jaime’s work can be found on the NIOZ website.

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Science Encounters Art

SEA Texel

Ruim 70 procent van onze aarde bestaat uit zee. Een onuitputtelijke bron van inspiratie. S.E.A brengt een ode aan de zee, door kunstwerken geïnspireerd op wetenschap op Texel te realiseren.

Contact informatie

Project SEA
Pontweg 19
1797 SN Den Hoorn, Texel
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