Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Envisat tracking Africa’s rivers and lakes to help manage water resources

06.10.2005


From this week, researchers worldwide can follow the flow of rivers and height of lakes across the African continent from the comfort of their desks. A new web-based demonstration launched to coincide with this week’s TIGER Workshop makes Envisat-derived altimetry data for African inland water freely available in near-real time.



Envisat’s Radar Altimeter-2 (RA-2) sensor fires around 1800 radar pulses a second down to the surface of the Earth, then measures very precisely how long it takes for those pulses to bounce back. This travel time can be used to calculate the height of the Earth’s oceans, ice masses, land surfaces, and also – thanks to a sophisticated algorithm developed by the UK’s De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester under ESA contract – previously elusive results for rivers and lakes flowing over land.

The effort to develop the River and Lake product was led by Professor Philippa Berry of DMU’s Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory: "Monitoring of water resources is vital over Africa, to enable best use of this precious commodity. Until now reliable information has been difficult to access because of the high cost in equipment, manpower and communications, and because it is difficult to obtain these precious hydrological data from many countries.


"However heights of inland water can now be measured directly from space using radar altimeters, currently carried on several satellites and originally designed to measure ocean height. This is a very exciting development which has the potential to transform the management of drought crises and water-related conflict around the world.

"Whilst data from a few selected large lakes has been available previously, the combination of DMU’s sophisticated processing scheme and the unique design of the Envisat altimeter have for the first time allowed near-real time measurements to be made over lakes and major rivers across Africa.

"The new system identified that part of each surface echo originating from inland water, enabling measurement of much smaller targets than has previously been possible. This, combined with the altimeter’s capability to return good data even in rough terrain, means that we can provide much more accurate and up-to-date water level information than has ever been possible before."

The demonstration website is being launched at this week’s ESA TIGER Workshop at ESRIN, the European Centre for Earth Observation in Frascati in Rome. Starting 3 October, this four-day event involves more than 200 African organisations from 31 countries, and aims to apply Earth Observation technologies in support of integrated water resource management.

"The information will be released using a web-based delivery service hosted at ESRIN," Berry added. "It will be available within three days of being measured by Envisat. The system may even be pushed further to deliver water levels in less than six hours, using near-real time data from the precise orbit determination system aboard the satellite known as DORIS (Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite), in order to better satisfy the actual needs of users."

Following the TIGER Workshop the River and Lake demonstration system – which will start off by featuring products for Canada as well as Africa – will switch to other regions of the Earth on a periodic basis, beginning with Latin America.

Jerome Benveniste | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMM7B5Y3EE_index_0.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht The Wadden Sea and the Elbe Studied with Zeppelin, Drones and Research Ships
19.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung

nachricht FotoQuest GO: Citizen science campaign targets land-use change in Austria
19.09.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

IVAM’s LaserForum visits the Swiss canton of St. Gallen with the topic ultrashort pulse lasers

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Wadden Sea and the Elbe Studied with Zeppelin, Drones and Research Ships

19.09.2017 | Earth Sciences

Digging sensors out of an efficiency hole

19.09.2017 | Materials Sciences

Solar wind impacts on giant 'space hurricanes' may affect satellite safety

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>