News Archives, Remote Sensing


Oct 2005 | Comments Off on NEWSBRIEFS – REMOTE SENSING

Forest cover change in Andaman and Nicobar islands

The damage from last December’s tsunami has been counted in the Andaman and Nicobar islands and it is huge. The islands’ forest cover has taken a big hit, marine life has been badly affected and some famous beaches have vanished. India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests report says the tsunami has badly devastated the islands’ ecosystem. Conducted post-tsunami by ISRO through satellite mapping and released recently, the study found forest depletion of up to 27 per cent in islands like Nancowry and Trinkat. In the Nicobar group of islands, 12,224 hectares of forest cover was lost. Comorta, Nancowry and Katchal saw major coral reef erosion. The report says in some places the entire coral reef area suffered. Satellite images showed that the mangrove trees facing the waves were the worst hit. Extensive areas have turned barren or have been totally eroded in the tsunami’s wake. Some major beaches — big tourist attractions — have almost disappeared. The Noncowry and Trinkat beaches in the Nicobar group of islands have vanished. What remains are just barren rocks. Offi cials say it will take years for new beaches to be carved out from the sea. Marine life, too, has been hit hard. The nesting beaches in the Nicobar group of islands have almost vanished as the islands have gone under the sea by one to three metres.

Maps to prepare Malaysia for future tsunami

Maps will provide the key to limiting the physical and human toll on the nation in the event of another tsunami. The Malaysian Centre For Remote Sensing is on the verge of completing a mapping exercise that will prepare the nation in the event of another such disaster. The fi rst phase, completed in June, will help authorities in terms of damage assessment. By early next year, the second phase to help identify areas that may be affected in the event of another tsunami will be completed. The fi rst phase was completed in June using data from satellite images of the Dec 26 tsunami on how far the water travelled inland. The maps will help authorities identify areas to be evacuated, prepare early warnings, identify locations for relief centres and initiate public awareness programmes.

New coastal remote sensing network along East China Sea

Shanghai Fishery University will team up with the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration to create a coastal remote sensor network that will monitor fi shery resources and forecast natural disasters in the East China Sea. The network, China CoastWatch, is a satellite system that collects real-time basic data about the ocean environment – such as water temperatures, tide directions and wind velocity – and transfer it to a ground receiving station for analysis. Researchers say the information will help them make conclusions about ocean resources along the coast,
including fi sh migration routes, and predict typhoons and other climate phenomena.

Satellite data shows grim picture of Arctic ice melt

The Arctic ice shelf has melted for the fourth straight year to its smallest area in a century, driven by rising temperatures that appear linked to a buildup of greenhouse gases. Scientists at NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which have monitored the ice via satellites since 1978, reported that the total Arctic ice in 2005 will cover the smallest area since they started measuring. It is the least amount of Arctic ice in at least a century, according to both the satellite data and shipping data going back many more years, according to a report from the groups. As of September 21, the Arctic sea ice area had dropped to 2.05 million square miles, the report said.

NASA technology monitors wildlife habitats from the air

Two rare species, California spotted owls in the Sierra Nevada and the Delmarva fox squirrel in the mid- Atlantic U.S. have something in common. Using NASA technology, scientists have been able to identify habitats to help forest managers monitor and protect these species and other wildlife. The recent research shows that airborne laser scanning with Light Detecting And Ranging (LiDAR) can be especially valuable in ensuring that forests and other lands continue to be diverse, healthy, and productive, while still meeting the needs of society and the environment.

NOAA Aerial Mapping assisting in Hurricane Katrina

The NOAA Offi ce of Response and Restoration is working closely with FEMA and the U.S. Coast Guard in coordinating the response to hazardous materials in the fl ood waters of New Orleans and with the continuing search and rescue mission in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One of the innovative technologies being applied is combining LIDAR and aerial satellite imagery to create aerial maps of the region. NOAA is assisting in tracking the progress in removing water from the fl ooded areas of the region by providing aerial maps showing the progress to date. The maps are generated using satellite imagery acquired from the Department of Defense National Geospatial Intelligence Agency combined with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data from Louisiana State University and the State of Louisiana. Research Planning Inc., a NOAA contractor, is conducting this synthesis that shows likely water depths based on the combination of data. These maps show the progress in removing fl oodwaters from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina by comparing water levels on August 31 and September 8.

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