Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Envisat helps Polar Challenge racers on way to Magnetic North Pole

02.05.2005


The final stretch of the Scott Dunn Polar Challenge is approaching: 44 competitors on 16 teams from all over Britain and Ireland are racing on skis, pulling sledges to the 500-kilometre-distant Magnetic North Pole. In this extreme environment, radar ice images from ESA’s Envisat help ensure competitors keep safe.



After a year in training, participants set up from Resolute Bay in Canada on Saturday 23 April – the start having been delayed a day by a blizzard. Expected to take about two and a half weeks maximum, the race is the largest high Arctic event of all time, and an exercise in endurance for those taking part.

The Scott Dunn Polar Challenge route runs over both land and sea ice. At this time of year the sunlight is unceasing even as racers make their way through areas where temperatures regularly drop to -50°C.


Safety is the top priority, and the route has been prepared with manned checkpoints, supply dumps, mobile support and medical teams standing ready along with Twin Otter aircraft and helicopters flown by experienced Arctic pilots.

In addition the race organisers are receiving additional help from on high – in orbit 800 km away. Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) images are being supplied to the race organisers through Vexcel UK, an Earth Observation service company.

Race organisers Tony Martin and Chris McLeod said they were "absolutely delighted with the detail" that they could see in the Envisat radar images regarding ice conditions north of Canada. They reported that the maps are much better than the data they have relied on in previous years, and could potentially save on costs associated with aircraft flying time and assist during emergency situations.

Delivery of SAR images to the Scott Dunn Polar Challenge was achieved within the framework of the ESA Earth Observation Market Development (EOMD) programme, with participating company Vexcel UK contacted Polar Challenge as part of a test study.

Why are these ice maps so valuable? Satellite radar images provide wide-area coverage across a region – no matter the weather conditions, cloud cover or local time of day.

They can also distinguish between different types of ice such as smooth ice and older, ridged ice. This is because the different properties and surface structures of the various ice types cause characteristic variations in the backscattered radiation that makes up a radar image.

For Polar Challenge the ice maps have been used for route planning for race participants ahead of time, as well as advising pilots on supply dump locations and eventuality planning for emergency landings.

Near-real time images of the ice can potentially be provided for rapid updating – although this was not a requirement for the Polar Challenge as the conditions in the race area are generally stable.

However updatable sea-ice maps based on satellite radar images could prove very useful to the operators of ice-strengthened ships and icebreakers that take tourists on expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.

These ships need the most recent information possible on the position of the ice-water interface or ’ice edge’, and the location of thin new ice for optimal safe route planning.

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMKPP2IU7E_economy_0.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter

nachricht How much biomass grows in the savannah?
16.02.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>