Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

BIOMASS, a Satellite to Monitor World’s Forests, Set for 2020 Launch

20.06.2013
The European Space Agency is set to develop a new Earth-observing satellite that will map and monitor global forests, providing an unprecedented level of detail and understanding to the role forests play in the global carbon cycle and potential climate change.

Hank Shugart, W.W. Corcoran Professor of Environmental Sciences in the University of Virginia’s College of Arts & Sciences, served on the scientific advisory committee that ultimately convinced the space agency to fund and develop the nearly $525 million satellite.

Called BIOMASS, the satellite is planned for a 2020 launch. In the meantime, a great deal of instrumentation will be developed and calibrated prior to the launch. Shugart, an expert in forestry science and in the use of space satellites for studying the environment, will continue to advise the European Space Agency as it constructs and tests instruments, a role he has previous filled for NASA and other agencies.

“BIOMASS will be a hugely important instrument for global environmental science research in the coming years, and its observations will be the basis of significant international environmental policy in the areas of carbon cycling and global warming,” Shugart said.

The satellite will allow scientists to, in effect, weigh the volume of carbon stored in the forests of the world and bring greater understanding to their role in the cycling of carbon – a major greenhouse gas – in and out of the atmosphere. The satellite also will allow long-term monitoring of forest usage, such as deforestation or reforestation. The information would prove useful to international efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation in rapidly developing countries.

BIOMASS will carry a long wave radar system – P-band – that can penetrate cloud cover and forest canopy to measure the mass of trees in vast remote areas that otherwise would be impossible to accurately assess from the ground.

“It will provide a vertical profile of every layer of the forest; the height and volume,” Shugart said. “It’s an overhead inventory of vast areas, some of which are nearly impenetrable to ground-based researchers.”

The system will provide 3-D mapping of boreal, temperate and tropical forests from the Arctic Circle to the equator and below, and, by implication, the likely habitat range for endangered animals and vegetation. Areas of concentration would include the massive boreal forests of Russia, the temperate regions of China and the vast rain forests of the Amazon basin and other tropical regions.

Because the radar waves would interfere with ground-based radar used by the military in the United States and Europe, those areas would not be scanned by BIOMASS, but environmental scientists already closely study forests in those areas.

“BIOMASS will give us a clear ongoing picture of the condition of the world’s forests and how they might be changing naturally or due to human activity,” Shugart said. “And our involvement with the project should provide new research opportunities for our scientists and students.”

BIOMASS will be the seventh addition to the European Space Agency’s fleet of Earth Explorer satellites, three of which are in orbit, with the rest under development.

McGregor McCance | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.virginia.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Drones survey African wildlife
11.07.2018 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>