Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Earth Observation essential for geohazard mitigation

13.11.2007
Every year geohazards – such as volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis – claim thousands of lives, devastate homes and destroy livelihoods. In an effort to reduce their impact, more than 250 scientists from around the world gathered for a five-day workshop at ESA’s Earth Observation Centre in Frascati, Italy, to adopt a declaration for an internationally coordinated programme to help save lives and reduce human suffering worldwide.

Because of their unique, panoramic view from space, Earth Observation (EO) satellites can regularly monitor high-risk regions – namely over volcanoes, major landslides and seismic faults. Satellite imagery combined with in-situ measurements make it possible to produce hazard maps, disaster scenarios, forecasts and post-event assessments maps.

"This workshop is very beneficial because it attracts experts from approximately 40 countries in the field of geohazards and allows us to present results of EO applications from our respective countries," Dr Vernon H. Singhroy, Senior Research Scientist at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, said.

"ESA is leading the way in satellite observations and applications for geohazards," Singhroy continued. "As a community, we learn from the extensive applications of geohazard processes, such as InSAR monitoring, across Europe conducted through ESA programmes.

Data from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments like those flown aboard ESA’s Envisat and ERS-2 satellites are the basis for a technique called SAR interferometry, or InSAR for short. InSAR involves combining two or more radar images of the same ground location in such a way that very precise measurements – down to a scale of a few millimetres – can be made of any ground motion taking place between image acquisitions.

Because very small movements can potentially be detected across tectonic plates grinding past one another or the slow 'breathing' of active volcanoes, for example, InSAR has achieved spectacular results in various fields such as the monitoring of volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and land subsidence.

"The integration of in-situ observations with satellite observations helps us to better understand and forecast specific geological phenomena like volcanoes and seismic sites," said Jacques Varet, Director of Strategic Planning for Geoscience for a sustainable Earth (BRGM) and Vice President of EuroGeoSurveys. "In-situ observations have a local approach while space-based observations have a global approach. With these communities working together, we integrate our approach and enlarge our horizon."

Volcanoes

Although there is no way ground-based monitoring can be carried out on all volcanoes across the globe, space-based monitoring helps identify the volcanoes presenting the greatest danger. Satellite radar, such as that aboard ESA’s Envisat and ERS-2 satellites, allows scientists to track small changes in the Earth’s movement and improves their ability to predict volcanic eruptions.

To boost the use of EO data at volcanic observatories, ESA has started to monitor volcanoes worldwide within the framework of the Agency's Data User Element programme. The Globvolcano project, started in early 2007, will define, implement and validate information services to support volcanological observatories in their daily work by integration of EO data, with emphasis on observation and early warning.

Earthquakes

Shifts in the movement of the Earth’s crust are a hazard in many parts of the world. Using InSAR, scientists are able to detect minute deformations in the Earth's crust over time, which provides clues as to when an earthquake is imminent.

Interferometry provided a unique insight into the cause of the earthquake in Bam, Iran, in December 2003, which resulted in the deaths of 26 000 people. Studying radar images of the ground around Bam before and after the quake allowed scientists to construct an interferogram and tell geologists in Iran that the fault was actually in a different place than previously thought.

Landslides

Very gradual ground shifts are known to precede major landslides. Often these are on a scale of millimetres – too slight to even be noticed by local observers, but enough to be detected via satellite using radar interferometry.

This technique was the basis of another ESA Data User Element project called Service for Landslide Monitoring (SLAM), which enabled landslide susceptibility mapping across parts of Italy and Switzerland, two of the European countries most under threat.

Declaration adopted

In compliance with GEO (Group on Earth Observations) data policy, scientists have adopted a declaration that, among other requests, calls upon space and in-situ monitoring agencies to release data available over a limited number of high-risk areas. This will allow a better understanding of hazards and allow informed decision making to reduce geological risks.

Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMSAD53R8F_environment_0.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Satellites reveal bird habitat loss in California
28.03.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere
27.03.2017 | CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment

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

Researchers create artificial materials atom-by-atom

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers show p300 protein may suppress leukemia in MDS patients

28.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>