For more than 10 years, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) CryoSat has been returning detailed information on how the height of the earth’s ice fields are changing. However, in a move designed to gain even deeper insight into ice conditions, the satellite’s orbit has been altered so that it can work in tandem with NASA’s ICESat-2 system.
ESA said that while CryoSat carries a radar altimeter, NASA’s ICESat-2 is equipped with a laser measurement system. Both instruments measure the height of ice by emitting a signal and timing how long it takes the signal to bounce off the ice surface and return to the satellite.
OHB System, a German satellite systems specialist, recently secured the contract to supply the European Space Agency (ESA) with two satellites to form the foundations of the agency’s Copernicus Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Mission (CO2M).
OHB will lead an industrial consortium to start building the two satellites. As the main contractor, it will be responsible for the overall project, and is also developing the satellite platforms. As the main sub-contractor, Thales Alenia Space will supply the instruments, including the near-infrared and shortwave-infrared spectrometer that will measure emissions of carbon dioxide.
According to ESA, although ground measurements have made it possible to track general changes in the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, it is not possible to make reliable statements about anthropogenic emissions from individual countries, or even individual regions and cities.
Exceptional and prolonged heat in Siberia has fueled unprecedented Arctic fires, with high carbon emissions, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has said, adding that at the same time, rapidly decreasing sea ice coverage has been reported along the Russian Arctic coast.
As a result of this confluence of conditions, the northernmost inhabited Arctic town, Longyearbyen, on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, saw a new record temperature of 21.7°C on July 25, compared with the July average of 5.9°C, according to Norway’s national meteorological service.
The WMO’s data shows that temperatures in Siberia have been more than 5°C above average from January to June, and in June up to 10°C above average.
The World Meteorological Organization has announced that it will be hosting a virtual global symposium from August 4 to 6 to review the relationship between weather, climate and environmental factors and the spread of Covid-19.
Environmental conditions do not appear to be principal drivers of the first wave of the pandemic. Nonetheless, the WMO notes that questions remain as to whether factors such as temperature, humidity, air quality and ultraviolet light influence the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease (Covid-19) that it causes.
“It is critical to understand whether meteorological, climatological and environmental factors promote the spread of the disease either outdoors or indoors.
According to the UK Met Office, accurate prediction of the North Atlantic climate is a step closer following what it is billing as a major scientific breakthrough, which it says will facilitate longer-term prediction of North Atlantic pressure patterns – the key driving force behind winter weather in Europe and eastern North America.
Published in Nature, the study analyzed six decades of climate model data and suggests that decadal variations in North Atlantic atmospheric pressure patterns (known as the North Atlantic Oscillation) are highly predictable, enabling advanced warning of whether winters in the coming decade are likely to be stormy, warm and wet, or calm, cold and dry.
In recent years the development of flood warning systems has benefited from advances in sensor, datalogger and communications technology. The expansion of mobile telecommunications has meant that more locations now benefit from increased coverage, so that water level and meteorological monitoring systems can now be installed in remote locations.
“In the past, data would have to be collected manually,” explained Robin Guy from OTT Hydromet, which specializes in such systems. “However, this is both time-consuming and costly, so modern systems employ telemetry to communicate with remote stations to lower costs and dramatically improve the speed and value of data.
The Arctic sea-ice extent is at its lowest ebb for the month of July since satellite observations began, says the AWI (Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung), which is responsible for the MOSAiC Arctic research project.
It notes that sea-ice retreat is especially pronounced off the Siberian coast, as a result of which the Northeast Passage (also referred to as the Northern Sea Route) was ice-free by mid-July. The AWI says that from the outset, 2020 promised to be anomalous in terms of both ice thickness and ice drift. Additionally, in June there was a cell of warm air that produced extremely high temperatures in Siberia and seriously impacted the sea-ice cover.
Airbus Defence & Space and weather data specialist Meteomatics have announced a cooperation agreement that the companies say will help organizations across the globe make better weather-related decisions.
Under the agreement, Meteomatics will provide customers with a real-time weather data feed including satellite-based global thunderstorm cell detection and prediction data from Airbus. It says this data has huge potential to benefit a wide range of industries, such as agriculture, insurance, traffic management, logistics and smart cities.
Airbus will deliver its thunderstorm detection data set directly to Meteomatics, which will then make the data available to its customers worldwide through its Weather API.