Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Value of satellites highlighted at World Environment Day

13.06.2007
The United Nations chose to mark World Environment Day 2007 in Tromsø, Norway, to stress the global environmental impact of melting ice and snow. Earth-observing satellites were recognised for their role in identifying and analysing long-term climatic trends and changes in polar regions.
Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Professor Chris Rapley, said: "Satellite observations show us that the polar ice is responding more quickly to climatic warming than the glaciologists had anticipated. ESA’s ERS and Envisat satellites have made especially important contributions.

"The ice sheets of Greenland and the Antarctic are increasing sources of global sea level rise. The ‘trillion dollar’ questions are ‘How much?’ and ‘How quickly?’ Ongoing monitoring from space will be essential to get the answers."

Polar ice plays a crucial role in regulating global climate because it reflects about 80 percent of the incoming sunlight. If the ice caps over the polar ocean melt, the ocean water would absorb a large part of the radiation energy, which would lead to further melting of the ice and further warming of the climate.

Because of the remoteness and harshness of the polar regions, in situ research is very difficult to carry out and has proved to be insufficient for comprehensive studies. Since their advent satellites have contributed to a greater understanding of polar regions and helped identify the strong links these regions have with Earth’s terrestrial, ocean and atmospheric processes.

According to a report released at the event in Tromsø by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the world will be affected by declines in snow cover, sea ice, glaciers, permafrost and lake ice.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of the Environment for Norway, Helen Bjørnøy, said: "As documented in the report, melting of ice and snow will in itself have severe consequences on nature and society. But it will also reduce the reflection of sun beams from the surface of the Earth and in this way contribute to further global warming."

Since the early 1990s, ESA has been able to provide near-continuous satellite data on the polar regions over long periods of time, which is essential for scientists to identify and analyse long-term climatic trends and changes. For instance, using radar altimeter data from ESA’s ERS-1 and ERS-2, scientists at NASA's Goddard Space mapped the height of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and found there was a net loss of ice from the combined sheets between 1992 and 2002 and a corresponding rise in sea level.

In 2002 within days of its launch, ESA’s environmental satellite Envisat captured the disintegration of the Larsen-B ice shelf in Antarctica, surprising scientists because of the rapid rate at which the shelf broke apart.

Another study based on satellite data collected between 1996 and 2005 by ESA’s ERS-1, ERS-2 and Envisat and Canada’s Radarsat-1, scientists learned Greenland glaciers are melting into the sea twice as fast as previously believed, accounting for nearly 17 percent of the estimated 2.54 millimetre annual rise in global sea levels.

Observing data from Envisat’s Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) instrument and the AMSR-E instrument aboard the EOS Aqua satellite, scientists last year witnessed for the first time dramatic openings in the Arctic’s perennial sea ice pack north of Svalbard, and extending into the Russian Arctic all the way to the North Pole.

ESA operated an exhibit at the event in Tromsø to illustrate the benefits of satellite data and to highlight the need for carrying on long-term monitoring over the polar regions by satellites such as Envisat and ERS in order to provide authoritative evidence of trends and enable estimation of the consequences should such melting continue into the future.

In 2009, ESA will make another significant contribution to research in the polar regions with the launch of Cryosat-2. This spacecraft will monitor precise changes in the thickness of the polar ice sheets and floating sea ice. The observations made over the three-year lifetime of the mission will provide conclusive evidence on the rates at which ice cover is diminishing.

Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMBUUEVL2F_planet_0.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

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 shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>