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10th CCI colocation

The 10th CCI Collocation Meeting will take place from 24 - 26 March 2020 at St. Hugh's College, Oxford.

Invitees should register vis the site below, where details of the agenda and logistics can be found.

New global satellite permafrost maps available

The first global and consistent permafrost maps using satellite observations are now available from the ESA’s Climate Change Initiative.

The release of these maps is timely given that the IPCC, in its latest Special Report, highlight the permafrost warming trend (1980-present) has reached record levels. As a consequence, concern is growing that significant amounts of greenhouse gases could be mobilised over the coming decades as it thaws, and potentially amplify global climate change. 

Caption: Animation showing mean annual ground temperature at 2m depth, the standard depth used to indicate the presence of permafrost. Units Kelvin (273K=0°C)

Permafrost is one of 54 Essential Climate Variables used to describe Earth’s climate by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). However, monitoring has relied on in-situ networks to date, which is challenging as permafrost covers a quarter of the northern hemisphere’s land area. Use of Earth Observation data can provide global and spatially consistent permafrost data coverage for this variable, even in the most remote and inaccessible areas.

Satellite sensors cannot detect Permafrost directly, but a dedicated research project, part of the ESA Climate Change Initiative, and led by Annett Bartsch has used complementary satellite measurements of landscape features including land surface temperature and landcoverUsed in tandem with in-situ observations, the data are anticipated to improve the understanding of permafrost dynamics and the ability to model its future climate impact.

The maps provided by the Permafrost_cci team (University of Oslo CryoGrid model) cover the period, 2003-2017 at a spatial resolution of 1km for the parameters, subsurface temperature and the depth of the active layer – the topsoil that thaws during the summer and freezes again during the autumn. Ground temperature data is provided for several depths (0, 1m, 2m, 5m, 10m) and permafrost extent products are also available.

NEW IMBIE study: Greenland ice sheet is losing mass seven times faster than expected

The Greenland ice sheet is losing mass seven times faster than in the 1990s, according to new research. 

paper published today in Nature details how the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) team, led by Andrew Shepherd from the University of Leeds and Erik Ivins at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory present the results of the most complete picture of Greenland ice loss to date.

The study was co-authored by reseachers working on Climate Change Initiative Antarctica and Greenland ice sheet projects and compared and combined data from 11 satellites – including ESA’s ERS-1, ERS-2, Envisat and CryoSat missions, as well as the EU’s Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 missions – to monitor changes in the ice sheet’s volume, flow and gravity.

New biomass map taking stock of the world's carbon

The ESA Climate Change Initiative officially released the first in a series of global Above Ground Biomass maps today at the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) side event at COP25 in Madrid.

Global 2017/18 map of Above ground Biomass derived from satellite data

European Space Agency provides a global perspective of the changing climate from space at COP25, Madrid

ESA is an Observer organisation at the United Nations climate conference (COP 25).

Here, Susanne Mecklenburg, Head of ESA Climate Office, discusses the role of the Agency in advancing the understanding of the planet’s climate, and how it may change in the future today [3 December] in Madrid today.

Interview Transcript below

New salinity maps reveal the impact of climate variability on oceans

Global sea surface salinity 2012 and 2017Since the saltiness of ocean surface waters is a key variable in the climate system, understanding how this changes is important to understanding climate change. Thanks to ESA’s Climate Change Initiative, scientists now have better insight into sea-surface salinity with the most complete global dataset ever produced from space.

The CCI's Sea Surface Salinity research team, led by Jacqueline Boutin of LOCEAN and Nicolas Reul of IFREMER, has merged data from three satellite missions to create a global timeseries that spans nine years, with maps produced every week and every month at a spatial resolution of 50 km.

Understanding coastal sea level change: products available

Sea level change represents a hazard for populations inhabiting coastal zones.  Yet current knowledge is limited as absolute sea level changes at the coast may differ significantly from open ocean due to a number of reasons, including coastal dynamics and atmospheric forcing. Relative sea level will also be affected by vertical land movement, for instance subsidence.

Regional sea level trends over July 2002-June 2016 from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) sea level products.The Sea Level_cci project team present results of contemporary coastal sea level changes along the coast of Western Africa, obtained from a dedicated reprocessing of satellite altimetry data in a recent paper by Marti et al (2019).

The publication describes high sampling rate (20 Hz) sea level data from the Jason-1 and Jason-2 missions over a 14-year-long time span. 

New head joins the ESA Climate Office

Susanne Mecklenburg, Head of the ESA Climate Office

Dr Susanne Mecklenburg has been appointed as the new Head of the ESA Climate Office, joining the team last month [September, 2019].

Based at ECSAT, in the United Kingdom, the ESA Climate Office is the focal point for climate-related activities for the Agency and works to increase the use of satellite-based Earth Observation data in climate science, primarily through the delivery of ESA’s Climate Change Initiative.

She joined ESA in 2007 where she fulfilled roles as mission manager for two high profile environment and climate monitoring satellites, ESA’s Earth Explorer Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS), now in its tenth year, and Sentinel-3, developed as part of the Copernicus Programme.

Career Opportunity: Internal Research Fellow (PostDoc) on Exploiting Earth Observation for Climate Research

A new Research Fellowship (postdoc) position is open within the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes.

The successful candidate will contribute to the activities of the the European Space Agency's Climate Office, based in ECSAT, Harwell, United Kingdom, in cooperation with relevant scientific projects within ESA's Climate Change Initiative programme.

The main activities of the ESA Climate Office main activities include:

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