Archive for the 'Remote Sensing' Category



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

Planet Action 2012 Annual Report

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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

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.

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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+’.

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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.

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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

Monitoring Water Resources in the Mediterranean

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Rice mapping

The effects of climate change, population growth and economic development in the Mediterranean are posing a threat to the water supply in the region. As part of ESA’s TIGER initiative, satellite data are supporting water management by identifying water resources.

The demand for water is growing around the Mediterranean and is especially crucial in areas that do not receive regular rainfall. This is especially true for the southernmost parts of Europe and the countries lying along the African coast and in the eastern Mediterranean Basin.

Owing to the increasing population, the demand for water is growing for drinking and irrigation, representing 70–80% of the water use in the region. To get a better grip on water management, satellites are increasingly acknowledged as indispensable tools for collecting information on available water resources and their use.

This information is also necessary for planning infrastructure, such as where to build a dam, how to divert a waterway or manage a flood event.

The ten-year TIGER initiative exploits Earth observation technologies in order to respond to the urgent need for reliable water information in Africa.

TIGER is currently collaborating with the Euro-Mediterranean Information System on Know-How in the Water Sector (EMWIS), organising water observation systems and building capacity in the Mediterranean region.

In this context, a short training session and workshop was organised in early December at ESA’s ESRIN centre in Frascati, Italy, with participants representing national water authorities and remote sensing institutions from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

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Nile encroachment

“The collaboration initiated with ESA is very promising,” said Eric Mino, manager of EMWIS Technical Unit.

“Earth observation can not only increase knowledge on the water cycle and irrigation efficiency at river basin level, but also provides comparable, independent and objective information across the boundaries.

“This is necessary for all international water initiatives in the Mediterranean region, in particular for the projects initiated by the Union for the Mediterranean.”

In Egypt, satellite data are being used for monitoring rice fields – a crop that requires a significant amount of water and is mainly grown in the Nile Delta. Satellite observation on land cover maps combined with indicators on the vegetation status and land-surface temperature help to improve crop irrigation management.

Between Egypt’s arid climate and high water consumption, it is important to keep an eye on water quantity, as well as quality. To estimate the quantity lost by evaporation, information on land-surface temperature is used based on satellite data.

Satellite imagery is also used to observe wetland environments and monitor changes in coastlines and river banks, such as the Nile.

High-resolution imagery from the upcoming Sentinel-2 mission, being developed under Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, is expected to improve crop mapping and support water management in the Mediterranean Basin.

Source:

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Monitoring_water_resources_in_the_Mediterranean

Researchers Snow-Covered Desert

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Snow-covered deserts are rare, but that’s exactly what the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite observed as it passed over the Taklimakan Desert in western China on Jan. 2, 2013. Snow has covered much of the desert since a storm blew through the area on Dec. 26. The day after the storm, Chinese Central Television (CNTV) reported that the Xinjian Uygyr autonomous region was one of the areas hardest hit.

The Taklimakan is one of the world’s largest—and hottest—sandy deserts. Water flowing into the Tarim Basin has no outlet, so over the years, sediments have steadily accumulated. In parts of the desert, sand can pile up to 300 meters (roughly 1,000 feet) high. The mountains that enclose the sea of sand—the Tien Shan in the north and the Kunlun Shan in the south—were also covered with what appeared to be a significantly thicker layer of snow in January 2013.

Source:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2421.html

NASA’S Next-Generation Communications Satellite Arrives At Kennedy

photo.jpgCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s newest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, known as TDRS-K, arrived Tuesday at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for a Jan. 29 launch. TDRS-K arrived aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 from the Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems assembly facility in El Segundo, Calif.

For almost 30 years, the TDRS spacecraft have provided a reliable communications network for NASA, serving numerous national and international space missions. The TDRS fleet is a space-based communication system used to provide tracking, telemetry, command, and high bandwidth data return services. The satellites provide in-flight communications with spacecraft operating in low-Earth orbit. It has been 10 years since NASA’s last TDRS launch.

“This launch will provide even greater capabilities to a network that has become key to enabling many of NASA’s scientific discoveries,” says Jeffrey Gramling, project manager for TDRS at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

TDRS-K will launch to geostationary orbit aboard an Atlas V rocket. The spacecraft is the first of three next-generation satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for NASA by expanding the lifespan of the fleet. The launch of TDRS-L is scheduled for 2014 and TDRS-M in 2015.

Each of the new satellites has a higher performance solar panel design to provide more spacecraft power. This upgrade will return signal processing for the S-Band multiple access service to the ground — the same as the first-generation TDRS spacecraft. Ground-based processing allows TDRS to service more customers with different and evolving communication requirements.

The TDRS fleet began operating during the space shuttle era and provides critical communication support from several locations in geostationary orbit to NASA’s human spaceflight endeavors, including the International Space Station. The fleet also provides communications support to an array of science missions, as well as various types of launch vehicles. Of the nine TDRS satellites launched, seven are still operational, although four are already beyond their design life. Two have been retired. The second TDRS was lost in 1986 during the space shuttle Challenger accident.

NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation Program, part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington, is responsible for the TDRS network. NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy is responsible for launch management. United Launch Alliance provides the Atlas V rocket launch service.

To join the online conversation about TDRS on Twitter, follow the hashtag #TDRS. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/connect

For more information about TDRS, visit:

http://tdrs.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Source:

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/dec/HQ_12-439_TDRS_K_at_KSC.html

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1100
jbuck@nasa.gov

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
321-867-2468
george.h.diller@nasa.gov

Dewayne Washington
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
301-286-0040
dewayne.a.washington@nasa.gov

Report on ISDE at the EARSeL Newsletter, Issue 92

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The International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE) was founded in May 2006 in China, headquartered at the Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, on the principles of the 1999 Beijing Declaration on Digital Earth. In 2009, ISDE was accepted by the Group on Earth Observations as a participating organisation. The Society promotes international cooperation in the Digital Earth Vision, and   facilitates Digital Earth technologies to play key roles in, inter alia, economic and socially-sustainable development, environmental protection, early warning and disaster mitigation, natural resources conservation, education and improvement of the well-being of the society in general. The Mission of the Society is to provide a framework for understanding evolving society-beneficial geospatial technologies, current and newly emerging, and to revise the Digital Earth Vision in light of new developments.

The society’s forthcoming events and publications and a full report on ISDE, provided by Prof. Changlin WANG, Executive Director of ISDE, appears at the current issue of the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories / EARSeL Newsletter, (92). You can read this report at pages 19-20 of the Newsletter via the following link.

Source: http://www.earsel.org/Newsletters/EARSeL-Newsletter-Issue-92.pdf

11 meteorological satellites planned by 2020 in China

BEIJING – China will launch 11 meteorological satellites before 2020 to boost the country’s weather monitoring network, according to the country’s meteorological satellite development plan (2011-2020) released on Wednesday.

The country will invest a total of 21.7 billion yuan ($3.44 billion) in the sector, including research on new-generation meteorological satellites and the building of ground application systems for meteorological satellites, said Yang Jun, director of the National Satellite Meteorological Center.

China has launched 12 meteorological satellites since 1988, with seven remaining in orbit.

 

Source:

http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-10/24/content_15843678.htm

Improving healthcare response in Haiti

Earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes have taken their toll on many parts of the world. Communities struggle for years to rebuild without immediate access to basic necessities like proper healthcare. Satellites are helping to make this transition easier.

A new system designed by The Institute for Space Medicine (MEDES) in France and Local Insight Global Impact (LIGI) in Portugal, and supported by ESA through its integrated Applications programme, provides access to healthcare using satellite telephones and satellite navigation.

It is designed for regions where trained medical professionals are sparse and where communications are limited due to the damage caused by a natural disaster. Telephone cables can be blown down, rendering phone networks useless.

The system has been used with success in Haiti, where the massive earthquake of 2010 has left its mark. Health units in many Haitian regions are few and far between and if someone decides to make the journey to a unit, there is a very good chance no one will be there to provide care. This system makes up for the lack of local health care by ensuring anyone from anywhere can be trained to report the symptoms of a patient accurately. It uses a special interface designed for satellite and smartphones that walks a user through a series of steps to send data as SMS messages via satellite or a ground-based system, if available. This information is then accessed by local and national health systems via an Internet portal.

Feedback on what to do for the patient can be given within a few minutes. For example, if serious medical attention is needed after the diagnosis, this is dispatched immediately. Because these data are sent in real time, it can also help the early detection of potential epidemics by revealing trends in symptoms. Satnav signals are used to ‘geo-tag’ symptom records, simplifying where the data are being collected.

This helps to map potential epidemics based on the symptoms reported. Geo-tagging can also help to put patients in contact with the nearest healthcare provider.

A five-month trial took place in Carrefour, a poor district in the Ouest Department of Port-au-Prince, where 10 teachers from urban and rural areas were trained to use the interface. More than 4300 symptom declarations were sent, allowing health care professionals to diagnose and make decisions on treatment almost immediately.

“We have shown that the interface is easy to use, and that non-health professionals can be trained to use it,” explains Susana Frazao Pinheiro, representing LIGI.

“This system can make basic healthcare more universal by making a more efficient and cost-effective use of resources, information and knowledge.”

LIGI and MEDES will be expanding the system in Haiti to include more remote areas.

Source:

http://www.esa.int/esaTE/SEMTR0MFL8H_index_0.html?goback=.gde_4538605_member_179940357


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