Navigation Links
Satellites search out South Pole snowfields

As skiers across the world pay close attention to the state of the snow on the slopes, there are a different group of scientific snow-watchers looking closely at a South Pole snowfield this January.

Scientists from around the world coordinated by the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) are examining an Antarctic snowfield this January as part of the world's largest inter-comparison between satellite sensors.

The results will allow scientists to fully quantify differences between the measurements made by the satellite instruments in orbit. This will lead to improvements in their calibration and ensure that the data collected is all quality assured. This will ultimately result in more confidence in the data used for climate change, weather systems and monitoring disaster areas. Some of these measurements require the detection of changes of a few tenths of a percent per decade, yet current sensors exhibit biases between themselves of many percent, often more than 20 times this level.

Over 30 sensors from space agencies across the globe, including several from the UK, ranging in spatial resolution from a metre to several hundred metres will measure the reflectance of the sun by the Antarctic snow. All of the data will be cross-compared to each other supported by ground measurements of the site.

The measurements will be taken over a snowfield in Antarctica known as 'DOME C'. These can only be performed in December and January when the Sun is relatively high in the sky during the southern hemisphere summer.

Nigel Fox, head of Earth Observation in NPL's Optical Technologies software and computing team said:

"This is the most comprehensive comparison of its kind ever organised and is a direct result of efforts led by NPL to establish improved quality assurance of Earth observation data. As the data from many of the sensors involved in this comparison is used in studies of climate change, it is essential that we can reliably combine it together and start to use it as a truly global resource and reference for the future. This comparison will provide the information and evidence to allow this to happen"

This comparison is the first of a series led by NPL, supported by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the European Space Agency and the British National Space Centre, to address key issues in Earth Observation on behalf of the worlds Earth Observation community. Future ones include measurements of the temperature of the ocean and reflectance of a salt lake in Turkey.

Looking to the future, it is hoped that the UK can continue to take a lead in this niche but crucial role to underpin the calibration and validation of Earth Observation satellites. One example is the development of a "calibration satellite" in space to ensure the accuracy of satellites in orbit.


Contact: Joe Meaney
National Physical Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Satellites witness lowest Arctic ice coverage in history
2. UNCCD recognizes importance of satellites for combating desertification
3. Satellites help ensure efficient use of pesticides
4. ASU researchers use NASA satellites to improve pollution modeling
5. Satellites take sustainability to new heights
6. Satellites illuminate pollutions influence on clouds
7. Digital cameras, remote satellites measure crop water demand
8. Satellites helping aid workers in Honduras
9. Value of satellites recognized for conserving wetlands
10. ESA satellites focusing on the Arctic
11. ESA satellites flying in formation
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/11/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an ... of clinical research, is pleased to announce that it will ... Trials (PCT) event, to be held November 17-19 in ... to view live demonstrations of iMedNet , ... how iMedNet has been able to deliver time ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015 ... behavioral biometrics that helps to identify and verify ... Signature is considered as the secure and accurate ... identification of a particular individual because each individual,s ... accurate results especially when dynamic signature of an ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 9, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... solutions, today announced broader entry into the automotive market ... that match the pace of consumer electronics human interface ... sensors are ideal for the automotive industry and will ... Europe , Japan ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the third-largest ... market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost locations ... higher volume share for the region in the ... margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market earned ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" ... reported financial results for the quarter ended September ... in Canadian dollars and presented under International Financial ... States ," said Andrew Rae , ... regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching for ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services headquartered ... the company has set a new quarterly earnings record in Q3 ... posted for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... , with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific ... United Kingdom and Mexico , with ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SHPG ) announced today that Jeff Poulton , Chief ... Annual Healthcare Conference in New York City , ... p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ) announced today that ... Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in New ... 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> Shire plc ...
Breaking Biology Technology: