How Satellite Alerts Save Forests

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Information is key to success, and that’s especially true when it comes to fighting deforestation. Organizations and governments trying to protect our forests need to know where the illegal activity is happening, when, and who the perpetrators are. A team of researchers wondered if providing alerts from satellites could help organizations preventing deforestations. The short answer is yes.

Those findings come from new research into the effect of GLAD, the Global Land Analysis and Discovery system, available on the free and interactive interface Global Forest Watch. Launched in 2016, GLAD provides frequent, high-resolution alerts when it detects a drop in forest cover. Governments and others interested in halting deforestation can subscribe to the alerts on Global Forest Watch and then intervene to limit forest loss.

Moffette and her co-authors set out to understand whether these kinds of automated alerts could achieve their goal of reducing forest loss, which has global climate implications. Land-use changes like deforestation account for 6 percent to 17 percent of global carbon emissions. And avoiding deforestation is several times more effective at reducing carbon emissions than regrowing forests.

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Copernicus Satellite Constellation Shares Big Climate Data

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To some people space missions seem like a waste of resources, yet, thanks to many space missions we get scientific benefits. Launched by the European Union, the constellation of satirists known as Copernicus are constantly doing weather observations. Copernicus’ six families of satellites are scanning the planet to help understand climate change. It’s already been used in industry and what’s more is that the amount of data is free to researchers around the world.

“In the field of air quality, a few years ago, there was no way of taking into account raging fires in near-real-time,” says Dr. Vincent-Henri Peuch, Head of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), “Now, thanks to modelling and observing capabilities from ground to satellite, we can provide this information — and more importantly with a high degree of confidence.” They can also forecast European fire risk up to ten days ahead.

Such findings are not only vital in national and European environmental lawmaking; earth data-driven public initiatives can also fuel social and commercial gains.

The National Observatory of Athens developed a tourism app that draws from CAMS information — such as pollen, UV index and ozone levels. This makes it easy for visitors to plan ahead and then enjoy their stay in Greece enough to want to return.

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