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Envisat Symposium 2007 kicks off in Switzerland

vailability of satellite data from ERS-1in 1991 up until now, we have gained an understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the entire Earth system that we would not have otherwise been able to do.

Johannessen explained that since the time series of satellite data is getting longer, oceanographers and scientists are now in the situation to investigate the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, global warming and reduced sea-ice cover, and to follow the build up of hurricanes and typhoons and see how they propagate.

He highlighted the need to combine satellite observations with models and to merge them with in situ data. With the models, we can project the predictions into the future. We are there today, and it is without doubt thanks to satellite data, he said.

Johannessen warned that this predictive ability would be lost in the future if the provision of satellite data does not continue with the same magnitude combined with the exploration of new sensors.

Dr Eric Rignot of NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) reviewed cryospheric achievements with the ERS and Envisat missions and highlighted the most important scientific discoveries in sea-ice monitoring and land-ice mapping, such as the derivation of sea-ice thickness in the Arctic and the estimates of the mass balance of the large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica for the first time using radar altimetry.

Data from satellites have ushered in a new area of exploration to polar regions. We started from scratch and in just a few years have learned a tremendous amount, which is extremely important because this is a timely study in the context of climate change, he said.

Prof. John Burrows of Bremen University in Germany spoke of advances in Atmospheric science: A combination of GOME on ERS-2 and Envisats GOMOS, MIPAS and SCIAMACHY instruments are providing a quantum leap forward in Earth observation.

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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
23-Apr-2007


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