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Sentinel Success Stories

Australia has been struggling with severe bushfires for months now, and while experts are using all the satellite data they can to help monitor the situation, new products from the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission will provide Fire Radiative Power information and aerosol parameters.

While two explorers were having problems cruising the ice across the North Pole on skies, due to bad weather and complications with equipment, the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites lent a hand to guide rescuers through the maze of ice and water to save the day.

Safety at Sea

12 December 2019

Featuring how the Sentinel missions of the European Union's Copernicus programme, particularly Sentinel-1, have become a game-changer to the Danish Meteorological Institute's Ice Service and to the project – Automated Sea Ice Products – creating a robust, automated sea ice information service, solving the main needs of Arctic marine users.

Italy has been victim of days-long flooding and high-tides, owing to the severe weather of the past weeks. Although forecasts do not promise an improvement just yet, the Copernicus Sentinels have teamed up to help monitor the situation.

The Copernicus Sentinel family is almost fully composed of twins. Because of their large field of view, these twins see many locations in the High Arctic two or more times per day, with time lags of minutes to hours. In this resulting time-lapse, satellite imagery of a range of short-lived movements on Earth's surface can be detected.

On 11 October, some 95 km from the Saudi city of Jeddah, an Iranian-owned oil tanker was damaged, resulting in the loss of oil in the Red Sea. The Copernicus Sentinels are being used to monitor the resulting oil spill.

Seasonal wetlands are common in Mediterranean climates. They flood during rainy seasons in autumn and winter and dry-up in summer. Precipitation changes in these areas have profound effects on the dynamics of wetlands, affecting plants and animals that inhabit them. These wetlands can suffer changes in their hydrology, becoming transformed into permanent lakes or completely drying-up—but Copernicus Sentinels are making a difference.

A Danish R&D project is developing an automatic sea ice product service, which can meet the increased demands for better and more timely sea ice information, using the extensive amount of free and available data from the Copernicus Sentinel satellites, along with novel machine learning techniques for satellite data fusion and sea-ice information retrieval.

Featuring ECOPOTENTIAL, a European funded project that focuses on a set of internationally recognised protected areas, this video describes how the unprecedented availability of satellite data allow scientists to understand large scale changes in our environment and how best to protect it. 

Tracking spatio-temporal variations in flooded areas of wetlands is not an easy task, especially when they are characterised by a dense cover of emergent vegetation. Researchers in France developed a tool to monitor water in seasonal wetlands using Copernicus Sentinel-2 data, which exceed the performance of existing water indices.

The identification and location of groundwater‐dependent ecosystems are the first move in protecting and managing them. Such identifications are challenging where the surface signs of groundwater are not obvious. Copernicus Sentinel-2 data are lending a hand in establishing these ecosystems.

Dormant since 1924, the Raikoke Volcano in the Kuril Island chain, near the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, recently awoke. Data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P and Sentinel-3 satellites are giving vital information on its aftermath.

An early detection of changing patterns and altering ecosystems in coastal wetlands can prevent irreversible biodiversity loss and assist in the identification of problematic areas. The Copernicus Sentinel missions are now providing vital information to help visualise and explain trends to policy makers.

The Peneda-Gerês National Park  in northeast Portugal has been home to wild ponies for around 2500 years. Today, it also provides a rich habitat for wolves, foxes, wild boars, ibex, and deer. It also hosts otters, fish, frogs, salamanders, 147 different bird species (many migratory) and 15 bat species. Data from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites are helping to safeguard this mountainous habitat.

Intertidal habitats can change rapidly, not just in spatial extent but also in vegetation type and cover. Newly created coastal managed realignment sites are a prime example where channels migrate and the vegetation changes from terrestrial to mud flats and saltmarshes.

Monitoring these changes is difficult due to their highly dynamic behaviour, inaccessible nature and risk of ecological damage caused by field work. Aerial photography is costly and thus usually restricted to once a year at best—however, Copernicus Sentinel data are changing things.

Remote sensing and satellite imagery have become common use in monitoring and modelling of various biological and physical characteristics of Earth - now Copernicus Sentinel-1 is giving a new approach for monitoring the evolution of shorelines.

One of the main threats for soil degradation is the decline of soil organic carbon—the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites are currently being exploited to monitor soil conditions in croplands, in turn supporting the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union.

The complete drying-up of Lake Aculeo in Chile was captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite, enabling scientists to follow the water surface extent at high frequency, and thus witness this dramatic loss.

The conservation and protection of biodiversity is a fundamental activity of protected areas, such as the Samaria National Park, in Greece. The use of data from the Copernicus Sentinels, combined with geodiversity variables, are proving to be fundamental in monitoring certain areas where the Podarcis cretensis endemic lizard is found.

An international group of scientists have published the first study using data from the Copernicus Sentinel-3 Delay-Doppler altimeter, to monitor Antarctic Ice Sheet change.

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