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Using radar backscatter and AI for better maps of burned area

ESA’s Climate Change Initiative Fire project team introduces a self-adapting algorithm for detecting fire burned area in a paper published online this month in Remote Sensing of Environment. The team say their proposal is particularly helpful for tracking the impact of fire on tropical forests, which are usually shrouded in cloud and difficult to study using optical satellite imagery.

Fires are a natural part of ecosystems but humans can also have a strong role in their frequency and severity, with logging linked to fire occurrence in the tropical forests of Indonesia, for example.

Monitoring changes in the global frequency and extent of land affected by fire is important to better understand fire’s contribution to the build-up of carbon dioxide and methane concentrations in the atmosphere, which cause global warming. The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) identifies fire disturbance as an essential climate variable for characterizing the climate system. 

Techniques for mapping burned area remotely have typically relied on passive optical and thermal-wavelength sensors, which cannot observe areas obscured by clouds. This new algorithm uses Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar backscatter data to detect changes to the landscape caused by fire, with the advantage that it doesn’t depend on sunlight or cloud cover. 

State of the Climate report features CCI datasets

An authoritative review of the world’s climate highlights ESA Climate Change Initiative datasets in a number of key climate indicators.  

The annual ‘State of the Climate’ report, led by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate, is an international, peer-reviewed publication of the Bulletin of the American Meterological Society (BAMS).

The September 2019 edition cites CCI Soil Moisture, Cloud, and Ozone in its broad analysis of how climate around the globe has changed over the past 12 months compared with the preceding decades. 

Salinity Science Seminar (26-27 September, Hamburg)

Join leading researchers at the "Salinity Science Seminar" on 26 to 27 September, 2019.

Global sea-surface salinityThe seminar, convened by the University of Hamburg and the Laboratory for Oceanography and Climate (LOCEAN), will showcase the latest advances in ocean salinity science. Presentations will cover ocean salinity observations and processes, data assimilation and modelling.

The Science Leaders of ESA's Climate Change Initiative Sea Surface Salinity project, Jacqueline Boutin and Nicolas Reul, will unveil the first global sea-surface salinity data product developed by ESA's Climate Change Initiative's Salinity project team. Spanning nine years (2010-2018) this product uses observations from SMOS, SMAP and Aquarius missions.

Land Cover: Take part in the User Requirements Survey

Our Land Cover project team has launched a User Requirement Survey to define priority areas for improving the Land Cover Climate Data record products (1992 – 2015).

The product provides research-quality global Land Cover maps at 300m over a 24-year period and has been incorporated into the Copernicus Climate Data Record. A data viewer is available and the data can be downloaded vis the CCI Open Data Portal.

Take part --> Land Cover User Requirement Survey 

CCI Land Cover data viewer

Sea State_cci User Consultation Meeting 8-9 October, 2019

08/10/2019 12:00
09/10/2019 18:00

The Sea State_cci project is currently generating the first global, high-quality, consistent and accurate long-term time-series of Sea State parameters, based on satellite observations.

Lakes project team progressing to first ECV dataset release

The Lakes CCI project summarise progress made towards the first release of the Lakes ECV dataset in their first newsletter.

Here they describe the retrieval approaches for Lake Water Extent and first results from an inter-comparison of case study lakes at different epochs.










Post‐Doc position available with the Land Cover CCI research

A Post-Doc researcher position is available as part of the ESA Climate Change Initiaitive's Land Cover project team (LC CCI), led by UCLouvain-Geomatics (Belgium) to address the challenges of improving the Land Cover description in land surface models.

Click to download further details including the application process 

First Results of CCI Snow Project: Towards a Global Time Series of Snow Extent

The Snow CCI project team recently presented a poster of initial project results at the Living Planet Symposium in Milan earlier this year. The pos, as part of a wider effort to develop a long time series of daily global snow extent maps from satellite data.

They show snow mapping based on Normalized Difference Snow Index improved by using a cloud mask and uncertainty measures. AVHRR GAC satellite data, pre-processed by the CCI cloud project, was used to improve geocoding and apply inter-channel calibration. 

New team member: Sophie Hebden, ESA/Future Earth liaison officer


​Sophie Hedben joins the ESA Climate Office as part of a secondment from the global sustainability research network Future Earth and is charged with managing joint activities to maximise the use of CCI data.

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