A selection of images illustrating some of the results presented at the Living Planet Symposium in Edinburgh, UK.
The coast of the United Arab Emirates hosts some of the largest desalination plants in the world. While the water they release may affect the coastal ecosystem, harmful and non-harmful algae blooms can also greatly affect the desalination plants. In particular, the local phenomenon known as the ‘red tide’ has affected desalination plants over the last four years, causing severe damage and sometimes bringing operations to a halt.
Satellite data can be used to identify and monitor red tide events – such as this one spreading from the Gulf of Oman into the Persian Gulf. This image was acquired by Envisat’s MERIS instrument on 22 November 2008.
ESA's Envisat satellite shows ground deformation around a volcano on Fernandina island in the Galápagos islands, following the eruption in April 2009. The caldera is outlined in white, and the lava flow produced by the eruption is also in white, stretching to the coast.
Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar – or InSAR – is a technique where two or more satellite radar images over the same scene are combined to detect slight changes between them. Tiny changes on the ground cause changes in the radar signal and lead to rainbow-coloured patterns in the combined image.
Global annual mean cloud cover derived from three years (2007–09) of Envisat data. The map shows areas with little to no cloud coverage (blue) as well as areas that are almost always cloudy (red). Clear skies are immediately visible over deserts (such as the Sahara, Namib and over the Atacama). Regions with constant high-pressure systems are detectable, such as the Pacific. On the other hand, the North Atlantic Ocean in the mid-latitudes is mostly covered with clouds, where storms develop. The UK is often cloudy, whereas the Mediterranean shows sunny skies.
Data from both the MERIS and AATSR instruments on Envisat were used.
Data visualisation is key to understanding and communicating the complex content of scientific data. While many of these issues are of major importance to governments, industry or the general public, they cannot be properly addressed if not understood by the target audiences.
This image illustrates uplift and subsidence in Berlin, Germany, as detected by satellite radars. Different colours represent different rates of deformation. This type of information can be used by urban planning officials to ensure what areas are safe to develop, or if any structures may pose a safety risk.
Arctic sea-ice thickness for April 2013, as measured by CryoSat. Maps showing three years of Arctic sea-ice measurements were unveiled at the Living Planet Symposium in Edinburgh, UK.
On the first day of the symposium, a special session was held to celebrate the scientific achievements and legacies of Seymour Laxon and Katharine Giles. The two scientists, who passed away earlier this year in separate incidents, were key players in the CryoSat mission and exploitation of its data.