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Traces of Humankind – South Africa

30.2S 24.6E

July 3rd, 2013 Category: Earth Observation, Snapshots VIIRS/MODISSuomi-NPP/Aqua

South Africa – July 1st, 2013

VIIRS – Night Visible Image

MODIS – True-Color Image

Satellite images are an incredible tool to assess the health status of the Earth.

However, while macro-effects of human activities are clearly evident (i.e. deforestation, oil spill, etc.), the real impact of mankind on our Planet was not always easy to identify from Space.

Sometimes it is possible to understand how a region is changing just by combining data from different satellite instruments. Paradoxically, sometimes you just simply turn off the light to notice details not otherwise visible.

The main image represents the combination of the Night band of the VIIRS instrument (on-board the NASA’s Suomi-NPP satellite) with the True-Color band combination of the MODIS instrument (on-board the NASA’s Aqua satellite).

The extent of urban areas captured by the Night Image is clearly visible using the True-Color Image as a background. Small agricultural fires are visible as small groups of white dots close to the major villages (in the middle right part of the image).

The city of Cape Town is visible in the lower left part of the image, while the municipalities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Vereeniging, Brits and Rustenburg (in the upper right part of the image) show that the extent of the towns has become a single (giant) urban area.

In the small boxes at the beginning, the two images used for the combination.

Image from Last Data Sent to Earth by Envisat

40.4N 3.7W

April 15th, 2012 Category: Earth Observation

Spain and Portugal - April 8th, 2012

Radar image of the Envisat satellite

On the 8th of April, the European Space Agency unexpectedly lost control with its Envisat satellite, which has been transmitting data for the last 10 years and has completed over 50,000 orbits of our planet. This image of the Iberian Peninsula was generated from the last data trasmitted by the satellite. ESA’s mission control is working to re-establish contact with the satellite.

While it is known that Envisat remains in a stable orbit around Earth, efforts to resume contact with the satellite have, so far, not been successful.

From the ground, the German government’s Tracking and Imaging Radar, a 34-meter-diameter dish located near Bonn, took a radar image of Envisat that appears to confirm that the satellite has not broken apart following an in-orbit collision.

SRRS Participating in GMES Masters Competition – Thank you to all who voted!

41.8N 12.4E

August 29th, 2011 Category: Earth Observation, Events

GMES Master Competition - Best Service Challenge

In emergency situations it is necessary to provide a response as quickly as possible. When the type of emergency depends on the use of satellite data, it then becomes necessary to plan their acquisition, processing and distribution, having teams ready 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, to respond to this type of situation.

The Satellite Rapid Response System was created by CHELYS precisely with the intent of making satellite data available as quickly as possible, as images and value-added products.

The constellation of satellites known as GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) that will be launched starting in 2013, thanks to low revisiting times and the planning of the whole mission already present on board the satellite, will allow monitoring of our planet as never seen before.

SRRS is participating in the GMES Masters Competition in the Best Service Challenge. You can visit SRRS at the following link:
gmes.chelys.eu

If you consider this type of service useful, if you like it, if you would like to continue using it with new data that will be made available by GMES, then vote for the service at the following link:
www.gmes-masters.com

It is also important to note that although SRRS is participating in the Emergency Response category, it actually has a much wider range of applications, such as Ocean, Land or Climate Change.

If you have any thoughts regarding the service or ideas on ways to improve it, please leave us a comment.

More ...

Envisat Extension Orbit – Update

41.8N 12.4E

October 28th, 2010 Category: Earth Observation, Events

ESA Envisat-1

The Envisat mission was launched in March 2002 for 5-year nominal lifetime. Consequently the on-board hydrazine capacity was designed for a 5-year duration operation. Careful management of the satellite orbital manoeuvres allowed saving enough hydrazine for operating nominally Envisat for an additional 3.5 years, i.e. until end 2010.

The operations of the Envisat satellite beyond end 2010 require modifying the orbital characteristics of the mission. Careful trading between all possible options led to the selection a new orbit, called the “Envisat Extension Orbit“, which allows:
1) operating the mission for an additional 3 years, with a minimum amount of hydrazine,
2) ensuring the continuity of the maximum number of Envisat applications, with the exception of ASAR interferometry which will be degraded.

The Envisat extension orbit will be implemented through an altitude decrease of 17.4 km which will be reached through different orbital manoeuvres starting on 22 October 2010.

Consequently, the Envisat data flow will be suspended during the period 22 October to 01 November 2010. The data flow will resume on 02 November 2010.

The Envisat mission represents an important goal in the field of Earth Observation. Chelys will follow the entire operation attentively, as we are also the real time image generation software (Miravi) provider for the Meris sensor. This post will be updated in the next few days in order to provide a preview of the Envisat images at the end of the maneuver as soon as its sensors are reactivated.

Update

The last OCM (Orbit Control Manoeuvre) finished in time without problems on October 26th. The satellite instruments are gradually resuming their nominal condition and the dissemination to the users is started. However the ESA disclaimer is clear: users are invited to discard such data until November 2nd, 2010 as they are destined only for the ESA internal verification.

We started generating the first images using the “new” data, and the results, despite some geolocation problems, are very promising. Here below are some images generated after the completion of the manoeuvre.

Argentina from Andes to Ocean (ASAR Image Mode)

Richat Structure in the Sahara Desert (MERIS Full Resolution)

France, Spain and Pyrenees (MERIS Full Resolution)

Strait of Gibraltar (MERIS Full Resolution)

New FAPAR/MGVI Raw Data Processor for Monitoring Vegetation Cover

October 2nd, 2009 Category: Climate Change, Earth Observation, Image of the day, Mosaics

FAPAR Index - Source and Processed products

FAPAR Index - Source and Processed products

FAPAR - Source Product

FAPAR - Source Product

FAPAR - Processed Product

FAPAR - Processed Product

Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) acquires multi-spectral imagery of the Earth, and is used to monitor the state and evolution of the terrestrial vegetation cover.

In particular, the MERIS Global Vegetation Index (MGVI), which corresponds to the Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR), is generated operationally as a standard level-2 product, using the radiation measured by MERIS over land surfaces.

This bio-geophysical product plays a critical role in the plant photosynthetic process and is regularly used in diagnostic and predictive models to compute the primary productivity of the vegetation canopies.

FAPAR has been established as a fundamental surface parameter by international organizations including the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), charged with providing data on the Earth’s climate system.

Chelys has developed a new processor that is able to process and directly extract the FAPAR index from raw data (level-0) at a reduced or full resolution (but also from level-1), generating the relative false-colored image just a few seconds after the original data is ingested.

In the next few weeks, a processor that will systematically generate these vegetation index images will be incorporated in the SRRS (Satellite Rapid Response System). As soon as enough images have been collected, it will be possible to generate mosaics as well.

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