Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


World-spanning Envisat Summer School concludes in Italy


How can we best use observations and models to quantify the state of the Earth System and better understand the coupled interactions between the ocean, atmosphere, cryosphere and biosphere? This complex but vital question was at the heart of the second ESA Summer School on Earth System Monitoring & Modelling.

This summer, 68 young scientists coming from 21 countries across the world (e.g. Europe, Canada, Australia, Argentine, Brazil, China, India) converged on ESA’s European Space Research Institute (ESRIN) in Frascati (Italy) for a two-week training course on Earth Observation, modelling and data assimilation.

The participants attended keynote lectures about state-of-the-art data assimilation techniques across a range of applications, given by 14 top European scientists. The lectures had a particular focus on utilising data from Envisat, which with its 10 instruments measuring the electromagnetic spectrum is the only truly ‘Earth System’ satellite able to simultaneously monitor the land, ocean, ice and atmosphere. The theory was also considerably reinforced by a set of computing practicals to give students hands-on experience of processing Earth Observation data and real application of assimilation techniques in simplified models.

"When it comes to modelling global processes of whatever type, Earth Observation is an effective control of the model behaviour," commented lecturer Prof. Chris Schmullius of Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany. "For example, I am interested in land cover mapping, and using models to see how vegetation changes with climate. Only Earth Observation gives us a regularly updated map of land use changes, including factors such as fire, agriculture, logging and other human interactions that have to be taken account of in models."

Cathy Trudinger had come from Melbourne, Australia to attend the Summer School. She is currently working on the mathematical modelling of greenhouse gases at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO): "It’s been a very good overview of the various satellite instruments available, how they work and how the data can be used". She will be carrying out biosphere modelling in the course of her research.

"ESA has a very good data set from its missions, but up until now I have not known enough about it to make use of it," explained Manik Bali, originally from India, now working on his Ph.D. thesis at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. "I now plan to assimilate land cover data within a model aimed at improving monsoon prediction, letting affected countries know whether a good or a bad monsoon is coming and making the appropriate preparations."

All those attending produced posters explaining the subject of their research. The Summer School participants voted among themselves for the best one, and the winner was Christian Beer of Friedrich-Schiller University, dealing with the assimilation of remote sensing data into land models.

"I’ve been working in the field of land studies for two years," Beer said, "so it has been very educational to come here and meet with different scientists working in other areas and learn first-hand about how they’ve been using satellite data."

Prof. Alan O’Neill of the Data Assimilation Research Centre at Reading University explained why he thought the summer school had been very successful. "We have kept the focus on Envisat data, but while the first school concentrated on assimilating data from its atmospheric instruments, this time we have covered the full range of its instruments, including land, ocean and ice data. We have also made other changes, including a greater linking of the lectures with practical tutorials.

"Participants came from a diversity of disciplines as well as countries, and half of them were women, which is a positive sign. The span of applications is wide, but everyone here is concerned with similar points: how to turn what are basically measurements of electromagnetic radiation into useful geophysical parameters, what to do about observational errors and how to correct for them in models.

"There’s a commonality of techniques and issues in Earth Observation that makes it a discipline in its own right, and I think the experience of the School shows this very well."

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Young people discover the "Learning Center"
20.09.2016 | Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>