Archive for the 'Earth Sciences' Category



China to Launch Earth Observation Satellite this Month

China-To-Launch-Earth-Observation-Satellite-This-Month

China is planning to launch a high-resolution Earth observation satellite this month, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SATIND).

The government agency revealed details about the launch on Thursday, which was carried by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The satellite will be the first to provide high-resolution observation data of the Earth. It will be launched using a Long March 2D carrier rocket, the SATIND said, and examinations of both the satellite and its carrier rocket have been completed.

China plans to launch five to six satellites by the end of 2015 in order to build a complete spatial, temporal, and spectral high-resolution observation system, Xinhua reported.

Data collected by the satellites will be used by the Ministry of Land and Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Environmental Protection for disaster management, geographic and oceanic surveys, urban transportation management, and national security, the agency said.

 

Sources:

http://www.asianscientist.com/topnews/china-launch-earth-observation-satellite-month-2013

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Are Tropical Forests Resilient to Global Warming?

Tropical forests are less likely to lose biomass — plants and plant material — in response to greenhouse gas emissions over the twenty-first century than may previously have been thought, suggests a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience.

In the most comprehensive assessment yet of the risk of tropical forest dieback due to climate change, the results have important implications for the future evolution of tropical rainforests including the role they play in the global climate system and carbon cycle.

To remain effective, programmes such as the United Nation’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation+ scheme require rainforest stability, in effect locking carbon within the trees.

The research team comprised climate scientists and tropical ecologists from the UK, USA, Australia and Brazil and was led by Dr Chris Huntingford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the UK.

Dr Huntingford and colleagues used computer simulations with 22 climate models to explore the response of tropical forests in the Americas, Africa and Asia to greenhouse-gas-induced climate change. They found loss of forest cover in only one model, and only in the Americas. The researchers found that the largest source of uncertainty in the projections to be differences in how plant physiological processes are represented, ahead of the choice of emission scenario and differences between various climate projections.

Although this work suggests that the risk of climate-induced damage to tropical forests will be relatively small, the paper does list where the considerable uncertainties remain in defining how ecosystems respond to global warming.

Lead author Dr Chris Huntingford, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the UK, said, “The big surprise in our analysis is that uncertainties in ecological models of the rainforest are significantly larger than uncertainties from differences in climate projections. Despite this we conclude that based on current knowledge of expected climate change and ecological response, there is evidence of forest resilience for the Americas (Amazonia and Central America), Africa and Asia.”

Co-author Dr David Galbraith from the University of Leeds said, “This study highlights why we must improve our understanding of how tropical forests respond to increasing temperature and drought. Different vegetation models currently simulate remarkable variability in forest sensitivity to climate change. And while these new results suggest that tropical forests may be quite resilient to warming, it is important also to remember that other factors not included in this study, such as fire and deforestation, will also affect the carbon stored in tropical forests. Their impacts are also difficult to simulate. It is therefore critical that modelling studies are accompanied by further comprehensive forest observations.”

Co-author Dr Lina Mercado from the University of Exeter and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said, “Building on this study, one of the big challenges that remains is to include, in Earth system models, a full representation of thermal acclimation and adaptation of the rainforest to warming.”

The research team came from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UK), National Center for Atmospheric Research (USA), The Australian National University (Australia), CCST/Inst Nacl Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) (Brazil), James Cook University (Australia), University of Leeds (UK), University of Oxford (UK), University of Exeter (UK), University of Sheffield (UK), Met Office Hadley Centre (UK), University College London (UK), and the University of Edinburgh, (UK).

 

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, via AlphaGalileo.

http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=129167&CultureCode=en

Science for Environment Policy: FUTURE BRIEFS

Future Briefs are a series of horizon-scanning policy briefs, which provide an accessible overview of emerging areas of science and technology as part of the European’s Commission for Science for Environment Policy.

The following briefs are available for free via: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/future_briefs.htm

Earth Observation’s Potential for the EU Environment

Earth observation from space by satellites can provide a wealth of data relating to the land, oceans and atmosphere. This Future Brief examines how the data can inform Europe’s environmental policy.

Bioelectrochemical Systems

This Future Brief examines the examines the use of bioelectrochemical systems, such as microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrolysis cells (MECs), to treat wastewater and generate electricity, hydrogen and valuable chemicals.

Green Behaviour

This Future Brief examines the role that policy can play in supporting and encouraging the public’s pro-environmental behaviour. The report explores different policy methods to reward green behaviour, such as financial incentives.

Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean

This Future Brief examines the impacts of exploration on marine and coastal environments. Focusing on oil, gas and mineral exploration as well as renewable energy schemes, the report considers evidence from recent scientific research, including reports following the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010.

 

Source: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/future_briefs.htm

Planet Action 2012 Annual Report

p183_58d646b294dd4ce3cb91539f9cb444d22012_-_PA_Annual_Report_Page_01

Planet Action is a non-profit initiative launched in June 2007 by Spot Image. It has been joined by ESRI as a co-founding partner very early, and other partners have also joined the initiative since. More recently, Planet Action and the UNESCO signed a cooperation agreement within the framework of the Open Initiative to support World Heritage sites.

Man-made climate change is a global issue with serious threats: this is a new challenge for our societies and communities to get fully involved with new and cooperative approaches.

It is our ambition, as a committed and responsible corporate citizen, to bring quality technologies and expertise to the non-profit community working on climate change.

The projects benefiting from Planet Action grants reflect the complexity and interactions at stake in shaping a future based on sustainability.  We are grateful to them for their work and feedback.  We also appreciate the strong relationships that help us share knowledge within the Planet Action’s community: non-profits and NGOs, technology providers (ESRI, ITT, Trimble), experts, and outreach partners.

We hope this Annual Report presents an accurate picture of our activity and our personality.

The Planet Action team

 

Source: http://www.planet-action.org/web/183-annual-report.php

USGS EarthExplorer

USGS Earth Explorer

The USGS EarthExplorer (EE) tool provides users the ability to query, search, and order satellite images, aerial photographs, and cartographic products from several sources. In addition to data from the Landsat missions and a variety of other data providers, EE now provides access to MODIS land data products from the NASA Terra and Aqua missions, and ASTER level-1B data products over the U.S. and Territories from the NASA ASTER mission. Registered users of EE have access to more features than guest users.

EE-specific links: Launch EE | General Tutorial

Source: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov

GMES Land geoland2 Project: An Era Ends

After 8 years of GMES land research projects and the start of the initial GMES Services (GIO) in 2011, two important events signaled the transition from prototype development to operational implementation of land services: (1) the 8th and last “geoland forum2:http://www.gmes-geoland.info/news-events/geoland-forums.html in Copenhagen and (2) the final review meeting in Brussels.

The geoland2 project with 57 partners from 20 European nations developed the GMES Land Service and demonstrated an impressive portfolio consisting of 200 different products and applications. The continental and local component of geoland2 were transferred to the European Environment Agency and the global component to the JRC and implemented as part of GIO. Thus GMES Land leads – based on geoland2 results – to operational geo-information services that provide accurate, reliable and harmonised information across borders.

The 8th geoland forum took place in Copenhagen on 18th and 19th October 2012. 150 GMES Land stakeholders were invited to discuss the status and results of the GMES Land Services with the project consortium.

On 11th and 12th December 2012 the geoland2 project completed its final review meeting at the European Commission in Brussels. The project’s Executive Board presented the various results that have been achieved in the previous 4 years to the project officer and the review panel. During the two days intense meeting the team convinced the review panel that geoland2 has done a great job, in fact the European Commission was very impressed by what geoland2 has delivered.

An executive summary outlines detailed information about the geoland2 project and can be accessed here

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Source:

http://eomag.eu/articles/2035/gmes-land-geoland2-project-an-era-ends

CryoSat Hits Land

MATLAB Handle Graphics

ESA’s ice mission is now giving scientists a closer look at oceans, coastal areas, inland water bodies and even land, reaching above and beyond its original objectives.

Launched in 2010, the polar-orbiting CryoSat was developed to measure the changes in the thickness of polar sea ice, the elevation of the ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica, and mountain glaciers.

The satellite’s radar altimeter not only detects tiny variations in the height of the ice, it also measures sea level and the sea ice’s height above water to derive sea-ice thickness with an unprecedented accuracy.

At a higher precision than previous altimeters, CryoSat’s measurements of sea level are improving the quality of the model forecasts. Small, local phenomena in the ocean surface like eddies can be detected and analysed.

300_m_resolution_node_full_image

300 m resolution

Taking CryoSat a step further, scientists have now discovered that the altimetry readings have the potential to map sea level closer to the coast, and even greater capabilities to profile land surfaces and inland water targets such as small lakes, rivers and their intricate tributaries.

Radar altimeters have more difficulty doing this because, compared to open ocean measurements, the landscape surrounding inland water bodies is a lot more complex.

These had not been previously monitored with satisfying accuracy by conventional altimeters because the sensor footprints – about 5×5 km – were too large to detect subtle differences in the topography around small landforms.

CryoSat, however, has a resolution along its ground track of about 300 m.

In order to thoroughly investigate the possibilities offered by CryoSat over water, ESA recently began scientific exploitation projects coined ‘CryoSat+’.

Readings_over_Danube_River_delta_node_full_image

Readings over Danube River delta

Scientists are reprocessing large, raw and uncompressed sets of data coming directly from CryoSat to obtain new information on oceans, inland water bodies and land.

In the example pictured above, CryoSat’s altimeter made readings over central Cuba, extending north and south into the surrounding water.

The image clearly shows the difference between the bright radar reflections from the steady water and the elevated land.

For instance, near the edges of the island, points of high radar reflection are pictured in red. This is due to the more placid waters of the bay and over coral reefs.

Examples are also pictured over the Danube delta in eastern Romania, and the land-locked Issyk Kul lake in Kyrgyzstan.

Altimeter_readings_over_Issyk_Kul_node_full_image

Altimeter readings over Issyk Kul

“Thanks to CryoSat being operated over some inland water targets in high resolution mode, we were able to distinctly chart the contours of a flood that occurred last March at Rio Negro in the Amazon,” said Salvatore Dinardo, working for ESA on CryoSat+.

Jérôme Benveniste, the ESA scientist who initiated the project, continued, “We were able to emphasise the unique capability to see the floodwater extent under the forest canopy, where optical sensors or even imaging radars are blocked by the trees.”

Results from the project will be unveiled to the scientific community at the Third CryoSat User Workshop to be held in Germany at the Technical University of Dresden on 12–14 March.

Source:

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat/CryoSat_hits_land


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