Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

BIOMASS, a Satellite to Monitor World’s Forests, Set for 2020 Launch

20.06.2013
The European Space Agency is set to develop a new Earth-observing satellite that will map and monitor global forests, providing an unprecedented level of detail and understanding to the role forests play in the global carbon cycle and potential climate change.

Hank Shugart, W.W. Corcoran Professor of Environmental Sciences in the University of Virginia’s College of Arts & Sciences, served on the scientific advisory committee that ultimately convinced the space agency to fund and develop the nearly $525 million satellite.

Called BIOMASS, the satellite is planned for a 2020 launch. In the meantime, a great deal of instrumentation will be developed and calibrated prior to the launch. Shugart, an expert in forestry science and in the use of space satellites for studying the environment, will continue to advise the European Space Agency as it constructs and tests instruments, a role he has previous filled for NASA and other agencies.

“BIOMASS will be a hugely important instrument for global environmental science research in the coming years, and its observations will be the basis of significant international environmental policy in the areas of carbon cycling and global warming,” Shugart said.

The satellite will allow scientists to, in effect, weigh the volume of carbon stored in the forests of the world and bring greater understanding to their role in the cycling of carbon – a major greenhouse gas – in and out of the atmosphere. The satellite also will allow long-term monitoring of forest usage, such as deforestation or reforestation. The information would prove useful to international efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation in rapidly developing countries.

BIOMASS will carry a long wave radar system – P-band – that can penetrate cloud cover and forest canopy to measure the mass of trees in vast remote areas that otherwise would be impossible to accurately assess from the ground.

“It will provide a vertical profile of every layer of the forest; the height and volume,” Shugart said. “It’s an overhead inventory of vast areas, some of which are nearly impenetrable to ground-based researchers.”

The system will provide 3-D mapping of boreal, temperate and tropical forests from the Arctic Circle to the equator and below, and, by implication, the likely habitat range for endangered animals and vegetation. Areas of concentration would include the massive boreal forests of Russia, the temperate regions of China and the vast rain forests of the Amazon basin and other tropical regions.

Because the radar waves would interfere with ground-based radar used by the military in the United States and Europe, those areas would not be scanned by BIOMASS, but environmental scientists already closely study forests in those areas.

“BIOMASS will give us a clear ongoing picture of the condition of the world’s forests and how they might be changing naturally or due to human activity,” Shugart said. “And our involvement with the project should provide new research opportunities for our scientists and students.”

BIOMASS will be the seventh addition to the European Space Agency’s fleet of Earth Explorer satellites, three of which are in orbit, with the rest under development.

McGregor McCance | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.virginia.edu

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>