TIGER has since involved more than 150 African organisations investigating the various stages of the water cycle across the African continent. More than 80 African water authorities and remote-sensing experts gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, from 20 to 24 November to review the mid-term results achieved to date and to attend training sessions organised by ESA and UNESCO.
In her opening remarks, the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry of the Republic of South Africa Lindiwe Benedicta Hendricks said: "Without appropriate tools and skills, as well as accurate and reliable information to support and inform decision-making processes, being able to adequately address the water challenges that face us will remain a pie in the sky.
"We must therefore congratulate the European Space Agency, UNESCO, and other international partners for their response to this need by having an initiative to address the information gap."
The TIGER initiative is implemented in three stages – research, pre-operational and operational. The research stage encourages water authorities in Africa to undertake research initiatives in the field of water and resource management and supports them with Earth observation (EO) data, training and tools. Results for the research stage were presented for the first time at the workshop in Cape Town, making it evident that the TIGER training sessions held throughout the year to familiarise users to EO data and techniques were successful.
Research presentations outlined how EO data led to the detection of a previously unknown fault in Morocco. Participants also heard how EO data are being used to monitor land use dynamics in Cameroon where landslides have increased in number and intensity in the last 30 years. In Botswana, EO data, along with in-situ, will be used to feed the political decisions on shared water use within the Okavango Delta.
The pre-operational stage aims to demonstrate tailored EO-based services and systems for collecting water-related information. ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), funded by €6 million, have backed a number of projects in more than 20 countries. The operational stage is aimed at transferring the leadership of the projects to African water authorities.
TIGER’s 15 projects under the pre-operational stage include wetland monitoring, water resources mapping, water quality estimate, soil moisture charting, flood plains monitoring, epidemiology and groundwater resources management, among others.
Providing perspective on the importance of soil moisture, which plays an important role in the global water cycle, and the lack of reliable soil moisture information, Geoff Pegram of the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, and Annett Bartsch of the University of Vienna, Austria, gave a presentation on the SHARE (Soil Moisture for Hydrometeorological Applications in the SADC Region) project.
The first SHARE products are ready – an archive containing coarse resolution soil moisture has been compiled for the SADC region from 1992 to 2000, a near-real time processor for more recent data has been set up and currently data is being processed for North West Africa and made available within three-day intervals.
Participants also heard about the ongoing project aimed at designing, developing and implementing a system for monitoring the water quality of Lake Manzalah in Egypt. An essential source of freshwater in the region, the demand on Lake Manzalah has been strained over recent years owing to increased competition from domestic, industrial and agricultural users.
Akram Mohamed El Ganzori of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in Egypt said: "The value of EO-derived information increases as it is used in integrated water resources management to improve decision making. The transfer of expertise and the building of local capacity is a real achievement."
Prototype products are currently being developed and operational service delivery is scheduled to commence in January 2007.
Addressing one of the most threatened ecosystems on Earth, Muhammad Sani Adamu of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Leon Schouten of Vexcel (The Netherlands) presented the GlobWetland project – an ESA-led initiative that uses satellite imagery to provide detailed wide-area views of individual wetlands to aid conservation efforts.
Opening the pre-operational phase of the workshop, the African Development Bank’s Woudeneh Tefera spoke of the GlobWetland initiative: “This is a tremendous leapfrog from the traditional data collection and information management systems and would enormously facilitate availability of quality data for water resources development, management and monitoring of the resources.
"National water resources management authorities and transboundary river basin origination could benefit tremendously from this initiative provided that the required scientific and technical skills are developed within the continent."
Following the conclusion of the workshop, the rest of the week was dedicated to training sessions. ESA’s training focused on advanced optical data from Envisat’s MERIS instrument for use in detecting and monitoring land cover, vegetation index, etc., while UNESCO offered basic remote-sensing training for wetland management.
Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy