Monthly Archives: January 2009

Training opportunity

Quick mention of a training opportunity in early April at University of Edinburgh.

Ian Woodhouse of the School of GeoSciences is running a 4-day course on radar remote sensing focusing on the role of airborne and satellite imaging radar systems and their application to monitoring aspects of the Earth’s surface, including snow and ice, oceanic wind fields, agriculture and forestry. More information here.

ESA aiming to go from zero to three in 2009

As in Earth Explorer missions.

A significant delivery from the ESA subscription which the UK (through NERC) contributes to is the Earth Explorer programme, which are the science and research element of ESA’s EO satellites.

The first such mission was supposed to be Cryosat. Despite its early demise its worth has not diminished and Cryosat-2 is planned for launch in autumn this year. More info here.



Before that ESA’s gravity mission GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) is scheduled for launch in March. More information here.



Following that is SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity), due for launch in July. More information here.



I’ll post more detail on these later, but in the meantime eoportal has more here.

Updated access to Radarsat mosaics of Antarctica

The Canadian radar satellite, somewhat obviously called Radarsat, was used to create the first complete high-resolution mosaic of the Antarctic in 1997. By complete, that includes the polo-hole in the middle that a lot of satellites cannot see. Radarsat was flipped over in orbit to ensure it saw everything and the result was the RAMP mosaic.

Subsequently the process was (mostly) repeated in 2000 to create the MAMM dataset, which this time collected sufficient repeat data to derive a veolcity field from the data. This time round the in-orbit acrobatics were ruled out, so the polo-hole gap is missing coverage.

The folks at Byrd Polar Research Centre have recently updated the RAMP website and there is an abundance of information about the project, access to numerous datasets, publications and documentation.

New CO2 observations coming

The early part of 2009 should see the launch of two new satellite missions, both with the aim of monitoring CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

First up is the Japanese GOSAT (Global Greenhouse Observation by Satellite) mission – due for launch this Friday (23rd January). Summary information is available on BBC here and more detail at the mission website here.

[Update - GOSAT launch success]

Then later in February (23rd I think), the NASA OCO (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) mission will launch. Again a BBC summary is here and the mission website is here.

GMES (not Kopernikus) begins to deliver

The much talked about great European GMES project (briefly called Kopernikus until they started arguing about where he came from) is finally beginning to deliver.

The first move comes from ESA who are responsible for delivering the Space Component (think the necessary satellites and data for all the planned environmental monitoring). Toward the end of last year they launched the grandly named GMES Space Component Data Access web portal. Currently this provides access to ESA satellite data, but in the coming months this will expand to include many other satellites. More information from ESA here. So there is great potential for improved access to data products here – but exactly how much better will take a bit more investigation and patience. I fear there is more wrangling on GMES data policy to go before we see a great US-style data free-for-all.



Also starting up in 2009 are the GMES core services. This includes the Marine Core Service called MyOcean. Sounds a bit possessive, but at least there is good UK involvement including BAS. I’ll post more on this in the next few weeks ahead of the real start to service delivery in April.