Volcanoes can have extremely wide ranging effects. Even a single eruption can cause disastrous climate changes at great distance from the source. Thus, it is important to have a system to monitor even the most remote volcanoes. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on the Terra spacecraft and other satellite sensors provide imagery that is critical to the global volcano monitoring solution.
No single solution or technology will solve climate change. The problem looms so large that we should think not twice, but three or four times, before we take any solutions off the table. Yet this is exactly what Daniel Ziskin seems to advocate in his essay, Carbon Capture & Sequestration: How Hopeful Should We Be?
The burning of fossil fuels provides about 85% of the energy consumed in the United States. One societal cost of this source of energy is the release of carbon dioxide; a potent greenhouse gas. The dream of capturing carbon before it is released into the atmosphere is capturing the imagination of policy makers. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 includes $1.8B for “clean coal” of which carbon capture & sequestration is a component. Yet the questions remain: Can it work? Is it cost effective? Are there more effective alternatives?
Engineering and humanity? Some might say that the two words don’t belong in the same sentence. Many outside the engineering profession do not think of engineering as a “caring” profession dedicated to creating positive effect for society and the global environment. What’s happening between the IEEE and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is showing how the commitment of engineers can be directed toward improving our lives and those of our children and future generations. IEEE members around the globe are using their skills to support GEO’s development of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems, or GEOSS. In doing so, they are tying engineering to basic needs of humankind – food, water, shelter, and security.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has dedicated a substantial part of its programmes to observing the Earth since the launch of its first meteorological mission Meteosat in 1977. Following this mission, the subsequent series of Meteosat satellites, the ERS-1 and ERS-2 missions and, more recently, Envisat, the largest Earth observation (EO) satellite ever built, have provided a wealth of data about the Earth, its climate and changing environment.
If you’re a scientist or engineer cobbling together a geospatial project, say you’re trying to figure out how many people would be threatened by a tsunami in the Indian Ocean, a truism holds that you spend 80 percent of the time hunting down usable data. The data, when they exist at all, often are archived in incompatible formats, have varying degrees of accuracy and precision, and sometimes require a good deal of political savvy to find.
The United Kingdom’s Met Office is one of the world’s leading providers of environmental and weather-related services. Our solutions and services meet the needs of many communities of interest, from the general public, government and schools, through broadcasters and online media, to civil aviation and almost every other industry sector – in the UK and around the world. It is also home to the Hadley Centre for climate research.
The business of standards within the developing GEOSS community requires the commitment, expertise, and networking capabilities of a host of individuals. Foremost among these is Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), in Boulder, Colorado. Since receiving his B.A. in Physics from the University of California, Irvine, and his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, Seattle, Khalsa has been a major contributor to a variety of data programs. His activity in leading the IEEE effort in standards and interoperability for GEOSS is a natural extension of his work in these programs, albeit on a global scale.
The noted British astronomer Fred Hoyle predicted shortly after the launch of Sputnik in October, 1957 that when we humans could obtain a picture of Earth from deep space, life here would never be the same. This was a time in history when the average Westerner’s concept of the universe was hardly more sophisticated than “God in the heavens, man in the middle and everything else below.” That is to say that only a very few scientists had foresight as to the extent and complexity of the cosmos that would be revealed following the arrival of the space age and its modern technologies.