"The course was very useful, especially for those in the field, as tools are very limited in Africa," Patrick Khisa of Kenya said.
Khisa said the course, hosted by the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development, helped him to identify how and where to get data for wide-scale applications. For instance, until recently he has been monitoring the water levels of Lake Victoria using ground data. During the course, he learned he could monitor lake levels using data from the space-based instrument radar altimeter.
The course provided an overview of the different applications of Earth Observation (EO) technology for improving integrated water resource management, with special attention placed on the needs of Africa. European and African experts discussed various topics, such as catchments characterisation, hydrological modelling, water quality and drought forecasting.
For Charles Tanania Kabobo, who is in charge of the Congo River Basin Information System, the course allowed him to learn the latest remote sensing techniques and its application to water management. Kabobo plans to introduce EO techniques in the field of water management in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where EO data is not currently used.
The training course was organised in collaboration with ITC (International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation), the African Water Facility (AWF) of the African Development Bank and the World Hydrological Cycle Observing System (WHYCOS) – a programme of the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
ESA launched the TIGER Initiative in 2002 following the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. The initiative’s primary objective is to help African countries overcome problems faced in the collection, analysis and dissemination of water related geo-information by exploiting EO technology.
Water resources are scarce across Africa where the hydrological network is the world’s least developed. Water resources are also unevenly distributed across the continent, with western and central Africa enjoying much higher rainfall than Northern Africa, the Horn of Africa and southern Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo has a quarter of all African freshwater on its territory, while arid Mauritania has just 0.001%.
During the last few years ESA and its partners (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN-Water/Africa group, the African Development Bank and more than 100 African representatives from water authorities, universities and technical centres) have been working together under the auspices of African Ministerial Conference on Water (AMCOW) developing the capacity in Africa to improve integrated water resource management by exploiting the advantages of EO technology.
For instance, ESA is currently working with water authorities in Egypt and the Lake Victoria Basin to design, develop and implement EO-based capacities for the operational monitoring of water quality in Lake Manzalah and Lake Victoria. Because lakes are a precious source of freshwater, the usage of lake water must be carefully managed to satisfy a variety of different, and often competing, domestic, agricultural and industrial uses.
These projects will both provide a set of comprehensive water quality products derived from EO data on turbidity, chlorophyll-a concentration, suspended sediment concentration, aquatic vegetation cover and reclaimed areas.
Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
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At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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...
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