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ESA’s Earth Explorer Aeolus satellite lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 22 August. Image: ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched the much-awaited Aeolus satellite into orbit on 22 August. It will provide data expected to improve weather forecasting and contribute to better disaster management.

Aeolus - the “Keeper of Winds” in Greek mythology - aims to track and profile global wind better. Aeolus uses the Active Doppler Wind Lidar (... read more

Publishing Date: 28/08/2018
Wildfires in Greece near Kineta captured by the Sentinel 2 satellite on 23 July. Image: Copernicus.

The summer of 2018 has seen several severe wildfires across Europe and the world. A number of space-based applications and data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Union’s Copernicus programme, the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) are supporting authorities in fighting the fires.

Both NASA GFWED, Copernicus’ EMS and EFFIS provide disaster management with free satellite data for accurate forecasting, monitoring, and... read more

Publishing Date: 30/07/2018
On 14 December 2017, ESA, acting on behalf of the European Commission, signed Copernicus Data and Information Access Service (DIAS) contracts with four industrial consortia. DIAS will give unlimited, free and complete access to Copernicus data and information. Image: ESA.

Atos activated its new Earth observation platform Mundi Web Services on 21 June 2018. The platform is already being used by several clients to evaluate and manage disaster risks.

On behalf of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA), Atos created the Mundi platform to combine real-time geo data from Copernicus, the world’s largest single Earth observation program, with data from... read more

Publishing Date: 24/07/2018
European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska announcing the launch of Copernicus DIAS on 20 June 2018 in Baveno, Italy. Image: Copernicus

The European Commission has launched an initiative to facilitate access to Copernicus data and information services. DIAS is designed to improve users’ ability to access as well as process Copernicus data and information by standardizing access to data through five cloud-based platforms: CREODIAS, MUNDI, ONDA, SOBLOO and WEKEO.

The European Union’s Copernicus programme produces up to 12 terabytes of data each day and Copernicus services, such as Copernicus... read more

Publishing Date: 20/07/2018
Image: UNU

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a new edition of its World Atlas of Desertification (WAD3) on 21 June 2018. The publication and related website show that population growth and changes in consumption patterns put unprecedented pressure on the planet's natural resources. As a result, the WAD3 highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures such as greater commitment and more effective cooperation at the local level to limit two of the main causes of land degradation: the consumption of animal proteins from unsustainable sources and agricultural expansion.

The Atlas provides a comprehensive and evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global scale and thus offers a tool for decision makers to improve local responses to soil loss and land degradation, comprehend... read more

Publishing Date: 09/07/2018
One of the first images from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission shows nitrogen dioxide over Europe. Image: ESA.

Sentinel-5P is the latest satellite mission of the European Earth observation programme, Copernicus. The satellite was launched on 13 October to monitor the... read more

Publishing Date: 06/12/2017
Sentinel-2A captured Lake Amadeus in Australia’s Northern Territory

The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) has published a number of new free online tutorials on how to use the information services provided by it.

35 video tutorials covering a variety of topics from beginner to advanced level have been uploaded and can now be accessed by anyone interested in marine environment monitoring. Among them are videos on a range of satellite products with which it is, for instance, possible to learn more about sea surface temperature observation or... read more

Publishing Date: 17/10/2017
Image courtesy of UNISDR

The Government of Turkey hosted the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) Open Forum in Istanbul from 26 to 28 March 2017. EFDDR is Europe’s regional platform for disaster risk reduction and brings together multiple stakeholders across all sectors through its Open Forum meetings to discuss and advance on disaster risk reduction issues and to shape the implementation and monitoring of the Sendai Framework in Europe. In the form of the Istanbul Outcomes, it formulated a perspective on disaster risk reduction in Europe in preparation for and as a contribution to the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Istanbul Outcomes call for an inclusive approach to disaster risk reduction which recognizes vulnerable people as vital participants in the formulation of national and local strategies. It recalls the severe earthquake in Central... read more

Publishing Date: 01/04/2017

ESA’s Earth observation satellite Sentinel-3A has on its board a new instrument measuring sea surface height and wave height. The Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter (SRAL) delivers accurate measurements and provides the Copernicus ocean forecasting systems with data for monitoring the sea level change. The data come with two different time stamps-Near real... read more

Publishing Date: 02/03/2017
Sentinel-3A. Image: Courtesy of ESA

The Sentinel-3A, one of the most complete Copernicus missions, has advanced instruments to measure the temperature on oceans, land, ice and atmosphere. After going through testing and improvements since its launch on February 2016, it has released high quality information from the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument in October this year.

This satellite is currently offering information from its Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer.  This data can be used for ocean and weather forecasting activities by helping... read more

Publishing Date: 01/12/2016
Juan Carlos Villagran of UN-SPIDER at the UN talks.
The United Nations commemorated its 20th anniversary since its establishment in Bonn, Germany in June 1996.  Taking into consideration the recent launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, the theme for this anniversary celebration was “Shaping a Sustainable Future”.    UN-SPIDER joined the festivities on 28 and 29 October 2016. During the UN Talks held in the evening of 28 October, the Head of the UN-SPIDER Bonn Office focused his remarks on the role of space-based information in disaster risk reduction as essential when addressing sustainable development.  His comments were rooted on the fact that disasters are eroding hard-won development gains in developing countries.  At the UN fair on 29 October 2016, UN-SPIDER’s stand offered visitors more information on the work carried out by this programme of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and... read more
Publishing Date: 03/11/2016
Night view of Italy. Image: NASA

The COPERNICUS Emergency Management Service Mapping was activated on 26 October 2016 due to a 5.4 earthquake affecting Italy's central region. Although there are no fatalities the tremor has left destruction and people sleeping on the street or improvised shelters, reported RT. For more RT information, click here.

The Guardian informed that approximately 200 replicas were felt during the night. The epicenter was close to Visso, a town in central Marche. More details from this daily, click here

Publishing Date: 27/10/2016
Screenshot of the video from DW. Tomorrow today section. Courtesy of DW Germany’s Public international broadcaster.

Radar Satellite images offer precise 3D pictures of earth. The Crises Control Team of the German Aerospace Center puts together radar imagery on natural disasters like floods or earthquakes. This information is essential for emergency services to know where people are in danger or where help is required. To watch the complete video click here

Publishing Date: 19/10/2016
Image courtesy of USGS, ShakeMap.

In the early morning of the 24 August 2016 an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 occurred in the central area of the Italian Republic, affecting the regions of Lazio, Abruzzo and Umbria.  

More than 4,300 rescuers have been called to come to the assistance of the population. The Copernicus Emergency Management Service has been activated. The Italian Civil Protection is operating at the moment while the death toll rose to 247 on the 25 of August, including many children.

Click here for the Copernicus EMS activation website and to have access to all the maps... read more

Publishing Date: 25/08/2016
Republic of Portugal, image courtesy of NASA by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) detected and captured images of numerous fires occurring in the western region of Portugal on the 6th of August.

Strong winds spread the flames on the west coast and hundreds of fires were then noticed on the 11th of August. Three people... read more

Publishing Date: 12/08/2016
Copernicus Emergency Management Service (© activation_2016 European Union), [EMSR174] Map Title: Delineation Map.

Skopje, the capital city of the Republic of Macedonia, was impacted by heavy rains on the 7th of August which led to floods in various parts of the city especially in the northern suburbs.

The COPERNICUS programme of the European Union gathered some information about the floods and provided maps of the flooded area. Around 157 hectares of the city are flooded and the most affected areas are the villages of Stajkovci and Haracinovo, as well as Skopje's suburbs of Butel, Cento and upper Lisice.   22 fatalities were confirmed by the authorities and more than 1000 residents were displaced. The water level reached 1.5 meters above its normal level in some areas.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated on the 8th of August and a team has been deployed to Skopje to assist in... read more

Publishing Date: 09/08/2016
Floods in France. Image with courtesy of Philippe Derrien

Massive floods recently affected Europe and the United-States. In the case of the United States, the Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) system - using data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and from the Japan Aerospace Agency (JAXA) - recorded rainfalls triggered by tropical depression Bonnie. 

Excessive rainfall affected different regions of Texas, Oklahoma and South Carolina in the United States. On the 31st May 2016, the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters was activated at the request of the U.S. Geological Survey on behalf of the Texas... read more

Publishing Date: 13/06/2016
Catalonia Forest Fire. Image courtesy of jordi_martos Pixabay website

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) has developed a system called PHAROS (Project on a Multi-Hazard Open Platform for Satellite... read more

Publishing Date: 20/05/2016
This year El Niño is the strongest since 15 years (Image: NASA).
During a news conference in Geneva on 16 November 2015, the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Mr. Michel Jarraud, commented that the “Severe droughts and devastating flooding being experienced throughout the tropics and sub-tropical zones bear the hallmarks of this... read more
Publishing Date: 17/11/2015
Representatives of the autumn IWG-SEM meeting 2015 participated in-person as via web (Image:Fabio Giulio Tonolo/ITHACA).
On 9 and 10 November 2015, UN-SPIDER hosted the autumn meeting of the International Working Group on Satellite-based Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM). The meeting included representatives of the German Aerospace Center (DLR); the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC); the UN Cartographic Section; the Service Régional de Traitement d'Image et de Télédétection (SERTIT); the Information Technology for Humanitarian Assistance, Cooperation... read more
Publishing Date: 10/11/2015
These days, the Champs-Elysées in Paris hosts a Climate Cube (Image: ESA).

These days, the Champs-Elysées in Paris hosts a Climate Cube presenting information on the contribution of space for studying climate change, right before the upcoming COP21 climate change conference in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015.

The Climate Cube presents a high-... read more

Publishing Date: 27/10/2015
The World Disasters Report 2015 will be a key publication for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit 2016 (Source: UNIS).

On October 5 2015 the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Austrian Red Cross, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Norwegian Embassy launched the 2015 World Disasters Report in Vienna. 

The annual World Disasters Report addresses current and future challenges, trends and innovations in disaster risk reduction and crisis management, by using... read more

Publishing Date: 23/10/2015
Cyclone Koppu over the Philippines (Image: NASA).

In the last days the Copernicus Emergency Management Service was activated by the Philippines affected by the tropical cyclone Koppu, Croatia affected by floods in the Karlovac region and Italy affected by floods and landslides in the Campania region. 

On October 17 the Republic of the Philippines was struck by the powerful tropical cyclone Koppu, causing severe damages in many provinces of the Philippines. The cyclone provoked landslides and floods, damaging trees and... read more

Publishing Date: 21/10/2015
Stephen O’Brien says that satellite communications are the only technology immune to natural disasters (Image: UN Geneva).

On 14 October at the World Humanitarian Summit Global Consultation in Geneva, the satellite operators Eutelsat, Hispasat, Inmarsat, Intelsat, SES, Thuraya and Yahsat signed the Crisis Connectivity Charter in partnership with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC).

In the past years global natural disasters showed an increasing need for safe... read more

Publishing Date: 16/10/2015
TerraSAR-X satellite monitoring Europe (Image: ESA)

Airbus Defence and Space and ESA have signed an agreement that enables Copernicus Data Warehouse to continue receiving TerraSAR-X satellite information until the end of 2020. This space artifact offers data used for addressing emergency and security related issues, reliable monitoring needs, and land cover change with high reliability and accuracy to European public institutions.... read more

Publishing Date: 30/07/2015

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