Announcements

16/07/2018

One year Adrift, but Not Far

In July 2017, a huge iceberg dramatically broke away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. But the aftermath has been a bit more drawn-out, as the berg hasn’t moved very far.


The left image shows Iceberg A-68 on July 30, 2017, soon after it broke away from the shelf and then fractured into two pieces known as A-68A and A-68B. The right image shows the same area on July 1, 2018. Both images are false-color, acquired with the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) on Landsat 8. Colors indicate the relative warmth or coolness of the landscape, from orange (warmest) to light blue and white (coldest).

In a year, iceberg A-68A moved a relatively short distance from the edge of the ice shelf into the Weddell Sea. In the right image, the berg’s western edge is roughly 45 kilometers from the shelf. A-68B, the much smaller fragment of the original berg, is more than twice that distance from its prior location.

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16/07/2018

MetOp-C Launch Campaign Kicks Off

The MetOp-C launch campaign has kicked off with the first of three Antonovs landing at Cayenne Airport, French Guiana on 20 June.


MetOp-C arrives at Cayenne

The cargo aircraft transported 11 containers of equipment for ground support and IT-infrastructure, followed by the second, carrying the two main modules of the spacecraft a few days later. The third and final Antonov brought the solar array.

This is all in preparation for the launch of the third polar-orbiting satellite in the Meteorological Operational satellite programme. This programme was procured by ESA for Eumetsat, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.

16/07/2018

ESA's wind Satellite Aeolus shows off

Before ESA’s Aeolus satellite is packed up and shipped to French Guiana for liftoff in August, media representatives had the chance to see this wind measuring Earth Explorer satellite standing proud in the cleanroom.

Like all of the Earth Explorers, Aeolus was built to show how cutting-edge space technology can shed new light on the intricate workings of our planet.


Aeolus on show

This pioneering satellite uses powerful laser technology that probes the lowermost 30 km of our atmosphere to yield vertical profiles of the wind as well as information on aerosols and clouds.

16/07/2018

Decades of Satellite Monitoring Reveal Antarctic Ice Loss

New research review provides insights into the continent’s response to climate warming

Scientists from the University of Maryland, the University of Leeds and the University of California, San Diego, have reviewed decades of satellite measurements to reveal how and why Antarctica’s glaciers, ice shelves and sea ice are changing.

Southern Ocean Icebergs
Source: University of Maryland

Their report, published in a special Antarctica-focused issue of the journal Nature on June 14, 2018, explains how ice shelf thinning and collapse have triggered an increase in the continent’s contribution to sea level rise. The researchers also found that, although the total area of sea ice surrounding Antarctica has shown little overall change since the advent of satellite observations, mid-20th century ship-based observations suggest a longer-term decline.

“Antarctica is way too big to survey from the ground, and we can only truly understand the trends in its ice cover by looking at the continent from space,” said Andrew Shepherd, a professor of Earth observation at the University of Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment and the lead author of the review.

In West Antarctica, ice shelves are being eaten away by warm ocean water, and those in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas have thinned by as much as 18 percent since the early 1990s. At the Antarctic Peninsula, where air temperatures have risen sharply, ice shelves have collapsed as their surfaces have melted. Altogether, 34,000 square kilometers (more than 13,000 square miles) of ice shelf area has been lost since the 1950s.

16/07/2018

Copernicus Sentinel-5P releases first data

 Following months of tests and careful evaluation, the first data on air pollutants from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite have been released. These first maps show a range of trace gases that affect air quality such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone.

Air pollution movement

Launched on 13 October 2017, Sentinel-5P is the first Copernicus satellite dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. It is part of the fleet of Sentinel missions that ESA develops for the European Union’s environmental monitoring Copernicus programme managed by the European Commission.

Philippe Brunet, Director of Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence at the European Commission, welcomed the release and accuracy of the new data, which has shone a light on air pollution on a global scale.


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