Archive for the 'Remote Sensing' Category



A Closer Look at LDCM’s First Scene

 

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Turning on new satellite instruments is like opening new eyes. The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) released its first images of Earth, collected at 1:40 p.m. EDT on March 18. The first image shows the meeting of the Great Plains with the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado. The natural-color image shows the green coniferous forest of the mountains coming down to the dormant brown plains. The cities of Cheyenne, Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Boulder and Denver string out from north to south. Popcorn clouds dot the plains while more complete cloud cover obscures the mountains.

LDCM is a joint mission of NASA and the Department of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey.

“It’s a really great day,” said Jeff Pedelty, an instrument scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who worked on the LDCM Operational Land Imager, or OLI instrument, that took the natural color image. He’s very impressed with the level of detail they can see with the advancements to the sensor. “It’s wonderful to see, there’s no doubt about it, and it’s a relief to know that this is going to work wonderfully in orbit.”

The natural color image showed the landscape in the colors our eyes would see, but Landsat sensors also have the ability to see wavelengths of light that our eyes cannot see. LDCM sees eleven bands within the electromagnetic spectrum, the range of wavelengths of light. OLI collects light reflected from Earth’s surface in nine of these bands. Wavelengths on the shorter side include the visible blue, green, and red bands. Wavelengths on the longer side include the near infrared and shortwave infrared.

LDCM’s second instrument, the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) detects light emitted from the surface in two even longer wavelengths called the thermal infrared. The intensity of the emitted light at the longer wavelengths measured by TIRS is a function of surface temperature. In the black-and-white image of the first thermal band on TIRS, warmer areas on the surface are brighter while cooler areas are dark.

The first thermal images seen by Dennis Reuter, TIRS instrument scientist at Goddard, were forwarded to him from the data processors. “To say it was exciting was an understatement,” said Reuter, who was blown away by the data quality. “Wow! This is beautiful!” he wrote in an email. “Look at those amazing clouds! And the detail!”

Clouds in the colder upper atmosphere stand out as black in stark contrast to a warmer ground surface background. The TIRS images were collected at exactly the same time and place as the OLI data, so all eleven bands can be used together.

The infrared bands on both TIRS and OLI complement the visible bands, said Reuter. “You’re seeing things in the visible that you don’t necessarily see in the infrared, and vice versa,” he said.

 

Source:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/landsat/news/first-images-feature.html?goback=.gmp_4538605.gmr_4538605.gde_4538605_member_225103056

 

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China to Launch Earth Observation Satellite this Month

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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

DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 Satellite Continues on Track for Mid-2014 Launch

DigitalGlobenews-room

Company Will Complete GeoEye-2 Satellite to Preserve as Ground Spare

LONGMONT, CO–(Marketwire – Feb 4, 2013) – DigitalGlobe, Inc. (NYSE: DGI) (“DigitalGlobe”) today announced that its previously planned satellite construction program related to its third WorldView-class satellite remains on track.

DigitalGlobe can now confirm that it plans to complete WorldView-3 on its original schedule to be ready for launch in mid-2014 in order to meet the requirements of its EnhancedView contract with the U.S. government. That contract calls for completion and launch of WorldView-3, which will offer the most spectral diversity available commercially and be the first to offer multiple Short-Wave Infrared bands that allow for accurate imaging through haze, fog, dust, smoke and other air-born particulates. DigitalGlobe’s largest customer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), has confirmed the requirements of DigitalGlobe’s EnhancedView contract remain unchanged.

Accordingly, following its just completed combination with GeoEye, DigitalGlobe intends to complete the construction of GeoEye-2 in 2013 and to preserve it as a ground spare to meet customer demand or as a replacement for other on-orbit satellites. Previously, GeoEye had expected to launch GeoEye-2 in 2013.

“After careful consideration and discussions with our largest customer and others, we have determined that launching WorldView-3 and preserving GeoEye-2 as a ground spare will best meet the collective needs of customers and shareowners alike,” said Jeffrey R. Tarr, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This plan reduces our risk profile and capital footprint, while giving our customers access to the most advanced earth observation capabilities available commercially. Furthermore, as we move forward, if demand exceeds our expectations, we will be well positioned to quickly expand our constellation. GeoEye-2 and WorldView-3 are extraordinary satellites, and I want to thank all of our team members and partners for their continued efforts toward their completion.”

Since completing its combination with GeoEye, DigitalGlobe now provides customers with access to a constellation of five earth observation satellites and a broad suite of high-value geospatial production and analytic services. Customers will benefit from a larger constellation with optimized orbits, and coordinated scheduling will collect imagery faster, increase persistence and enhance resilience.

DigitalGlobe intends to provide full-year 2013 financial guidance and an updated capital expenditure forecast when it announces fourth quarter 2012 and full year 2012 earnings on February 26, 2013.

 

Source:

http://media.digitalglobe.com/press-releases/digitalglobe-s-worldview-3-satellite-continues-on–nyse-dgi-981644

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


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