Arctic sea ice once again shows considerable melting

This September, the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to roughly 4.7 million square kilometres, as was determined by researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, the University of Bremen and Universität Hamburg. Though slightly larger than last year, the minimum sea ice extent 2017 is average for the past ten years and far below the numbers from 1979 to 2006. The Northeast Passage was traversable for ships without the need for icebreakers.

Source: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

The sea ice in the Arctic is considered a critical element in climate processes, and a valuable early-warning system for global warming. Accordingly, the September minimum extent is an important indicator of climate change. Despite an especially warm winter, the current extent of sea ice does not represent a new record low; nevertheless, the amount of ice loss is massive. As sea-ice physicist Marcel Nicolaus from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) explains, “This year’s sea ice extent is again on a very low level: the observed September value of the past eleven years has consistently been lower than in any of the previous years.”

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Airbus to reshape Earth observation market with its Pléiades Neo constellation

The production of Airbus’ four new very high resolution satellites, which together will form the Pléiades Neo constellation, is well on schedule for launch in 2020. They will join the already world leading Airbus constellation of optical and radar satellites and will offer enhanced performance and the highest reactivity in the market thanks to their direct access to the data relay communication system, known as the SpaceDataHighway.

This first batch of four optical and very agile satellites will double the number of visits per day anywhere on Earth and offer a re-tasking rate which is five times higher than previous constellations. Each satellite will be adding half a million km² per day at 30cm resolution to Airbus’ offering. These images will be streamed into the OneAtlas on-line platform, allowing customers to have immediate data access, analytics and correlation with Airbus’ unique archive of optical and radar data.


Red Cross is looking for volunteers to map the floods in Asia

Right now, over 24 million people are already displaced due to massive floods in South East Asia. 1/3 of Bangladesh and Nepal is already flooded, and things are not looking like they will get better soon.

Floods and mudslides in the region have already made more than 700 victims. Houses have been destroyed, and whole villages are cut off from the outside world. Because of this, many people are left without any access to food, electricity, medical aid and clean water.

In order for organisations like the Red Cross to be able to help those in need, good maps of the region are of critical importance. Unfortunately much of that part of the world is scarcely mapped, if at all. The Red Cross is therefore reaching out to volunteers to help map Bangladesh and Nepal, starting from high resolution satellite images.

The area around Kathmandu, before and after volunteers jumped in, in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake

If you feel like helping, or want to know more about the offer, be sure to check out the dedicated website!


IGARSS will come in Brussels in 2021

As co-organizer, BELSPO STEREO team is very proud to announce that the organisation of IGARSS 2021 has been awarded to the Low Countries (Belgium and The Netherlands).

IGARSS (IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium) is one of the most important international meetings in the field of remote sensing attracting thousands of scientists all over the world.

The event will take place in Brussels on July 11-16 July 2021.

It's a great opportunity for our countries and our scientific communities.

The Local Organising Committee hopes that you will turn out en masse to present your work
to the international community and make it a fun event!

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