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OBSERVER: Copernicus was definitely among the stars of the 2019 ESA Living Planet Symposium
OBSERVER: Copernicus was definitely among the stars of the 2019 ESA Living Planet Symposiumfdc_copernicus_admin Fri, 24/05/2019 - 11:17
Copernicus featured prominently at the European Space Agency’s 2019 edition of the Living Planet Symposium (LPS19). This one-week event takes place every three years in a different ESA Member State and is the largest event worldwide on the topics of Earth Observation, environment and climate change. This year’s edition was organised in Milan from 13 to 17 May with contribution from the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the City of Milan.
The LPS19 Symposium came at a very timely point in time, in view of the high priority given by European citizens at large to the topic of environmental awareness and climate change. But it also provided a unique opportunity to review the immense progress and internationally acknowledged success of the Copernicus programme, while looking into its possible future evolution.
This year, the Milan Living Planet Symposium hosted more than 4,200 participants from the scientific and academic world, from industry, space agencies and institutions pulling together a vast European and international community from over 80 countries. LPS19 included 187 specialised sessions, more general Agora panel discussions, 1,113 oral presentations while 1,772 scientific posters were presented. Fifty exhibitors from the institutional and private sectors were present in the exhibit area.
The European Commission represented by Pierre Delsaux, Deputy Director General of Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW, European Commission) and by Patrick Child, Deputy Director General of Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD, European Commission), joined Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Josef Aschbacher, its Director of Earth Observation Programmes, together with ESA’s other major institutional partners, EUMETSAT and ECMWF, to inaugurate the event. Industry representatives, members of the scientific and New Space communities, and 18-year-old Jacob Blasel from “Fridays for Future”, representing the civil society, were also present.
Pierre Delsaux, Deputy Director General of the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs; Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA; and Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General at ESA at the Living Planet Symposium. Credit: Copernicus Support Office
Many scientific results based on Copernicus Sentinel data were presented by the research community. The decisive contribution of the European Union’s Earth Observation programme to the advancement of Earth Sciences was highlighted in terms of the number of published papers based on Copernicus free and open data and of the many and unprecedented opportunities it brings to better understand and protect our fragile environment and to monitor and mitigate climate change. Promising results from ESA Earth Explorers science satellite missions such as the SWARM magnetic mission, the SMOS soil moisture mission, together with initial results from the Aeolus mission on wind profiles were also presented.
Panel debate on climate change at the Living Planet Symposium. Credit: ESA
Many dedicated Copernicus sessions were organised by ESA and the European Commission to discuss how user requirements collected by DG GROW will shape the future of the Copernicus Space Component, and, in particular, the High Priority Candidate Missions such as the CO2 monitoring constellation, and the new generation Sentinel satellites. The Copernicus services, the DIAS and data access, the Copernicus User Uptake and outreach strategy were also prominently featured. The Symposium was the occasion to discuss new challenges and opportunities in the field of Earth Observation such as those stemming from big data or artificial intelligence. Upcoming missions such as Sentinel-6, the next mission to be launched in the context of Copernicus, was addressed as a good model for cooperation as it involves many actors (the European Commission, ESA, CNES, EUMETSAT, but also our American partners from NOAA and NASA). Sentinel-4 and -5, our future atmospheric composition missions were also the subject of presentations and discussions.
The programme of LPS19 also included activities for schools and students, which enabled the new generation of future Earth Observation scientists to get ready to save our Planet! Credit: ESA
Furthermore, LPS19 was an occasion for ESA to present the details of its “Copernicus Long Term plan” which includes a CSC4 (Copernicus Space component Programme 4) and will be presented for approval to the ESA Space19+ Ministerial Conference in November and will feature the extension of the current Sentinel missions and their expansion with six new proposed missions to support the requirements of the European Union’s policies (e.g. in the fields of Arctic monitoring and preservation, climate change and agriculture). This programme will be followed by the European Union’s Copernicus budgetary contribution which is proposed within the upcoming EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF 2021/2027).
A fruitful discussion during the Women in Geospatial Agora event. Credit: ESA
One thing definitely struck all LPS19 participants: the incredible progress and road travelled since LPS16 which took place in Prague in 2016 thanks to the cooperation between the European Commission and its Copernicus partners and, in particular, with ESA, primus inter pares, in its role of architect of the Copernicus Space Component. With a fleet of 7 Sentinel operational satellites in orbit, six operational services, a growing data access architecture to keep the pace with evolving technology (e.g. the Cloud) and mind-boggling amounts of open data used by hundreds of thousands of users, the European Union, ESA and their partners have undoubtedly put together a unique, fit for purpose, wide-ranging and very necessary Earth Observation programme for the benefit of European citizens, but ultimately for our “Living Planet”.
Fire in Canary Islands, Spain
Fire in Canary Islands, Spainbergstroem Tue, 21/05/2019 - 11:21
On Wednesday 15 May, a wildfire broke out within an area of high ecological value in the Teide National Park, located at the base of the Mount Teide Volcano on Tenerife Island, Spain.
According to media reports, over 100 firefighters supported by helicopters spent 24 hours fighting the blaze. Initial efforts to extinguish the fire were hampered by the low humidity, remote location of the fire, and strong winds. Army bulldozers were also used to dig trenches to contain the fire. It is not currently known what caused the fire, however Spain has been experiencing a heatwave which increased the risk of fires with Teide National Park being assigned a “High Danger” rating in the Fire Danger Forecast of the Copernicus EMS European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) at the time of the blaze.
The Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping module was activated on 16 May to provide a Grading Map over one Area of Interest (AoI). The grading map was produced using optical satellite imagery from the CNES Pléiades-1A/B acquired on 17 May. The Grading Overview Map shows 53 ha (0.5 km2) of the area burnt at the time of satellite imagery acquisition.
The map and vector data are available for viewing and download on the EMS Website: EMSR360: Forest Fire in Canary Islands, Spain.
For updates on our activations, follow Copernicus EMS on Twitter.
The delineation map of Tenerife, Spain showing 53 ha (0.5 km2) of the area burnt at the time of satellite imagery acquisition (Copernicus EMS © 2019 EU, [EMSR360] Tenerife: Grading Product
The Copernicus EMS European Forest Fire Information System had forecasted an increased wildfire danger in Tenerife, Spain on 15 May (EFFIS, European Union 2019)
Flood in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flood in Bosnia and Herzegovinabergstroem Mon, 20/05/2019 - 15:13
On Sunday 12 May, heavy rain caused flooding across Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the rivers of Vrbas, Bosna, Sana, Una, and Ušora being affected the most. Flooding and landslides disrupted power and water supplies and damaged local infrastructure.
The ECHO Daily Flash of 16 May reports that one person is missing from the town of Žepce and that at least 15 people have been displaced in Kotor Varoš. Media reports estimate that more than 200 houses have been damaged in Prijedor, affecting thousands of people. Bosnia’s civil protection agency has declared a state of natural disaster and hundreds of civil protection staff were deployed to the worst affected areas. Military personnel have also been called in to reinforce flood defences along the banks of the Sana river.
The Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping module was activated on 14 May to provide First Estimate Products and Delineation Maps over five Areas of Interest (AoI). For four of them, the initial information was delivered through “First Estimate Products” (FEP), an additional Rapid Mapping product available since 1 April which aims to provide a rough estimation of the disaster impacts within 2 hours from image reception and can be used to redefine AoIs.
The delineation map released for the Srbac AoI, Bosnia and Herzegovina was produced using radar satellite imagery of the Copernicus Sentinel-1A acquired on 16 May. The first Delineation Overview Map of the Srbac AoI shows 749.3 ha (7.5 km2) of the area flooded at the time of satellite imagery acquisition.
The map and vector data are available for viewing and download on the EMS Website: EMSR358: Flood in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
For updates on our activations, follow Copernicus EMS on Twitter.
The delineation map of Srbac, Bosnia and Herzegovina showing 749.3 ha (7.5 km2) of the area flooded at the time of satellite imagery acquisition (Copernicus EMS © 2019 EU, [EMSR358] Srbac: Delineation Product
Flood in the North of Italy
Flood in the North of Italybergstroem Fri, 17/05/2019 - 17:02
On Saturday 11 May, a severe weather event occurred across the central and north-eastern regions of Italy, bringing heavy rain, strong winds and hailstorms. Several major rivers overflowed, leading to wide-spread flooding, crop damage and landslides.
The ECHO Daily Flash of 15 May reports that floods in the Emilia-Romagna Region have damaged approximately 200 homes, affecting at least 1,200 people. Flood waters also caused a bridge collapse within the Rimini province and power outages across Fregona. Farmers’ associations in Puglia estimate that the extreme weather has caused hundreds of thousands of euros worth of damage to local crops. According to media reports, evacuations were carried out in the province of Modena and military personnel have been deployed to help construct temporary flood defences.
The Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping module was activated on 15 May to provide Delineation Maps over two Areas of Interest (AoI). The initial information for both areas was delivered through “First Estimate Products” (FEP), a new Rapid Mapping product available since 1 April which aims to provide a rough estimation of the disaster impacts within 2 hours from image reception and can be used to redefine AoIs.
The delineation map released for Modena AoI, Italy was produced using radar satellite imagery of the Copernicus Sentinel-1A acquired on 12 and 13 May. The first Delineation Overview Map of the Modena AoI shows 283 ha (2.8 km2) of the area flooded at the time of satellite imagery acquisition.
The map and vector data are available for viewing and download on the EMS Website: EMSR359: Flood in the North of Italy.
For updates on our activations, follow Copernicus EMS on Twitter.
The delineation map of Modena, Italy showing 283 ha (2.8 km2) of the area flooded at the time of satellite imagery acquisition (Copernicus EMS © 2019 EU, [EMSR359] Modena: Delineation Product
Copernicus EMS Monitors Impact of Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique and Comoros
Copernicus EMS Monitors Impact of Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique and Comorosbergstroem Thu, 16/05/2019 - 12:21
Between 25 – 26 April, Tropical Cyclone (TC) Kenneth passed through Comoros, causing widespread destruction, before making landfall in northern Mozambique.
Continued heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms are forecast over northern Mozambique and Comoros, threatening to delay relief efforts. TC Kenneth is believed to be one of the strongest cyclones to ever make landfall on mainland Africa and comes just over a month since TC Idai tore through central Mozambique (see the Copernicus EMS IB for TC Idai here). This is the first time that Mozambique has been hit by two storms of Category 2 strength or higher in the same year.
ECHO Daily Flash 2 May reports 41 fatalities, 39 injured with nearly 35,000 buildings destroyed or damaged and approximately 168,000 people affected across northern Mozambique, an additional seven fatalities and 45,000 affected people are reported within Comoros. According to media reports, the UN has provided $13m for food, water and infrastructure repairs to Mozambique and Comoros.
The Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping module was activated on 26 April to provide Delineation and Grading Maps over several Areas of Interest (AoI) along the coast of the Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, and Grading Maps over the northern part of Comoros island. The initial information for both activations was delivered by the “First Estimate Product” (FEP), an additional Rapid Mapping product available since 1 April which aims to provide a rough estimation of the disaster impacts within 2 hours from image reception and can be used to redefine areas of interest. For Mozambique the FEP was used to provide a first overview on flooding along the coast (expected due to the forecasted storm surge) and inland along the Rio Messalo. A visible impact could be confirmed only inland along the river and the products were accordingly released only for this area (since April 2019 no-impact products are not anymore released). For Comoros a FEP was used to reduce the area of interest as the first Pleiades image from 27 April did not show damage in the western part of the area of interest. As the first acquired image was not entirely cloud free, another image was then requested over a smaller area. The acquisition from 30 April revealed significant damages in the villages at the eastern coast and further inland.
In Mozambique following GloFAS impact forecast areas for flood mapping were added on 30 April along the main rivers south and north of the initial AoI. These are mapped using radar imagery from COSMO-SkyMed, RADARSAT 2 and Sentinel-1. In addition to these rather large areas several much smaller areas over populated places are assessed for damages to buildings and infrastructure using optical imagery (from Pléiades). For most of these areas grading maps were released and these confirm widespread destruction in the cities and villages along the coast and on the islands.
The grading maps released for Comoros were produced from satellite imagery of the CNES Pléiades-1A/B acquired on 30 April. Similar to Mozambique the image revealed widespread damages in the villages but to a lower degree.
The map and vector data are available for viewing and download on the EMS Website: EMSR354: Tropical Cyclone Kenneth, in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique & EMSR355: Tropical Cyclone Kenneth in Comoros.
The delineation map of Narere, Mozambique showing 2684.4 ha (26.84 km2) of the area flooded at the time of satellite imagery acquisition (Copernicus EMS © 2019 EU, [EMSR354] Narere: Delineation Product)
The delineation map of Macomia, Mozambique showing 1470 ha (14.70 km2) of the area flooded at the time of satellite imagery acquisition (Copernicus EMS © 2019 EU, [EMSR354] Macomia: Delineation Product)
The grading map of Quirimba, Mozambique showing the massive impact over populated places along the coast and on the islands (Copernicus EMS © 2019 EU, [EMSR354] Quirimba: Grading Product)