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."
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.
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.
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.
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
GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy