Earth observation company 4 Earth Intelligence has used satellites to create the UK’s first street level map of ‘at risk’ areas to help plan for and manage the effects of extreme weather conditions. With support from the Ordnance Survey through their Covid-19 Response licensing, the Heat Hazard Postcode data is being made available free at the point of use to national organisations and multi-agency partnerships, such as Local Resilience Forums, that are currently battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Derived from satellite imagery and created using automated algorithms, the data identifies hot spots within urban areas where temperatures are generally higher forming an Urban Heat Island. With above average temperatures forecasted, and the summer of 2020 already being predicted as one of the hottest on record, it is feared that this could severely impact on already stretched public resources. It is estimated that the heat waves of 2019 led to almost 900 extra deaths in England and it is possible, that if the general population is still in lockdown, that the figures for 2020 could be higher.
Research funded by the Department of Health in the UK indicates that over 7,000 people could die from the effects of urban heat waves per year by the 2050s. The UHI effect can also impact air and water quality, and demands for energy, with implications for carbon neutral targets, public health, strategic planning and city resilience. www.4earthintelligence.com
Remote sensing to keep ‘TRAC’ of farming
As part of the regulated farming system to be followed from the coming crop season in Telangana, India details of crops cultivated would be enumerated completely with the help of remote sensing(RS) applications, which would enable the officials to list exact cultivation details of every crop since it had the ability to identify the extent of cultivation survey number-wise and crop-wise based on colours of crops.
By linking the RS applications with crop cutting experiments, estimation of crop yield and production could also be known with 95% reliability. The exercise to link agriculture in Telangana with TRAC had already been set in motion as part of implementation of the comprehensive agriculture policy.
Chinese researchers have mapped the country’s water clarity of lakes and reservoirs in 30-meter resolution using remote sensing imagery data.
Water clarity is a reliable indicator for quantifying eutrophic status, said their recently published research article in journal Remote Sensing of Environment. The researchers from the Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences collected 2,152 samples from 34 field campaigns from 2013 to 2018.
Based on both measured data and Landsat OLI remote sensing data, they developed regression models to map water clarity with a 30-meter resolution at a national scale.
The research showed that the lakes in northeastern and eastern China had low clarity due to shallow water depth combined with high suspended matter and algal abundance.
Lakes in the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region exhibited intermediate clarity, while lakes in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau displayed the highest clarity, according to the article.
The Landsat imagery was demonstrated to be applicable in providing quantitative information about lake water clarity.
The research is expected to support inland water management and improve water quality.
Historic test flight of SpaceX crew dragon
For the first time in history, NASA astronauts have launched from American soil in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off on 31st May’20 on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Known as NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2, the mission is an end-to-end test flight to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, including launch, in-orbit, docking and landing operations. This is SpaceX’s second spaceflight test of its Crew Dragon and its first test with astronauts aboard, which will pave the way for its certification for regular crew flights to the station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.