How high-resolution satellite images of Earth are changing our view of climate change

Advances in technology have resulted in the launch of satellites with a spectral range of around 0.4 microns to 14 microns. Combining this with the power of machine learning, artificial intelligence, algorithms, management systems and computer vision with satellite technology can help us observe, monitor and understand the changes taking place in the time and the environment.

With high resolution images of the Earth, we can understand the effects of global climate change on vegetation and ecosystems. These effects are commonly seen in increased CO2, methane, increased natural disasters, weather and ocean tides. Sometimes it is even obvious with naked eye observation.

How is the climate monitored?

From our studies and observations, experts have concluded that the Earth’s climate is made up of the oceans, landmasses and atmosphere. Even though they are separate entities, they are related to each other. And changes in one of them will lead to a significant change in the others. Because of this complexity, geoscientists can only monitor our climate using complex instruments and structures such as weather stations, buoys, weather balloons and satellites. These instruments are capable of measuring, directly and indirectly, temperature, ocean salinity, precipitation, greenhouses, snow and ice cover, soil moisture, and much more. All this data is collected over a period of thirty years to follow the evolution of time.

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Scientists can also estimate the state of our planet’s climate using geological records of tree rings, the size of glaciers, the composition of ice cores, lake levels and ocean chemistry. They are then compared to current records of precipitation, temperature and other aspects of our climate to estimate past weather conditions.

Satellites are one of the most effective methods for monitoring the Earth and its climate. Innovation has brought high-resolution satellite sensors that provide higher spatial resolution for more reliable and accurate data. Using these satellites that can capture high resolution images is changing the way we study climate change. For example, users can purchase high-resolution Earth images online from major vendors using LandViewer.

4 ways satellites can help fight climate change and its impacts

For many decades people have refused to recognize the threat that climate change poses to our world. It is only recently that governments and other influential bodies are making active efforts to combat global warming. One of the main tools used to understand the evolution of our climate is the satellite. Here are some of the ways satellites are helping to fight climate change:

Ocean monitoring

Satellites constantly monitor our oceans for possible pollution and other disasters. It helps detect oil spills, toxic algal blooms and marine plastics. Many companies and conglomerates dump their waste in the ocean, which leads to massive pollution. Satellites can be used to monitor these activities and reduce their occurrences.

Our oceans are also heavily exploited by illegal and unregulated fishing. These activities threaten marine ecosystems and can lead to food insecurity in many parts of the world. With the help of satellites, we can monitor the vessels carrying out these activities and ensure that they do not circumvent law enforcement.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Monitoring

Satellites are able to pinpoint sources of high emissions of carbon dioxide and methane. This way, experts can take quick action to reduce emissions. In addition, it allows the public to know where their pollution comes from.

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Since climate change is not obvious, global powers like the United States and the EU have teamed up to drastically reduce methane emissions by 2030. Their goal is to reduce methane emissions by more 30% over the next 8 years.

With access to high quality satellite imagery, businesses and individuals can do their bit to make the world a better place, free of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Changing the Urban Climate

Urban areas normally have a different climate from the surrounding areas, which is often due to the development of the city. As cities become populated and more people build, the landscape and climate also begin to change. Even if the differences are not immediately noticeable, experts have their own way of measuring the evolution of the urban climate. Another noticeable change is due to an increase in the temperature of cities.

Satellites have been widely used to monitor and study cities and their changes over time. Images taken from satellites help experts in urban planning and land and energy use.

Disaster Analysis

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Experts can understand the extent of damage caused by natural disasters by comparing satellite images before and after the disaster. For example, high-resolution satellite images before and after a flood can be used to estimate the extent of damage to property and the landscape. Satellites can also be used to monitor man-made disasters, such as oil spills, so authorities can act quickly to reduce pollution.

Cartographers now have access to historical satellite data and higher resolution satellite images, giving them the ability to create highly accurate and detailed maps that can show the impacts of climate change.

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