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Envisat Symposium 2007 kicks off in Switzerland

quantity of data is such that we are able for the first time to look at processes and changes in the atmosphere, which is necessary both for understanding atmospheric physics and chemistry and for policy making. We are on the verge of a new era where the quality of satellite data is sufficient that we can both monitor important international protocols like the Montreal Protocol, controlling ozone depleting substances, and Kyoto Protocol, observing greenhouse gases, the precursors of climate and temperature changes.

He explained scientists are at the brink of addressing, on a global scale, pollution issues from stratospheric ozone depletions, such as the ozone hole, through to air pollution and climate change gases.

The important issue is that the atmosphere has a short-time scale, so changes in it are early warning signals of long-term changes, making it essential that we understand both the chemistry of these issues and provide that societal input to policy-makers, he continued. The changing atmosphere and the anthropogenic input into it are now much more than a single science issue, and we need to understand these issues and processes in order to provide good information.

Dr Alan Belward of the European Commissions Joint Research Centre (JCR) in Italy addressed advances in vegetation mapping, saying the best advances are new quantitative measures of the land surface process which have allowed scientists to move past traditional cartography methods.

We have now got science quality biophysical variables, so we have actual quantitative measures of change in the land surface that we can now relate to climate models, carbon models and a lot of new uses such as ecosystem health, he said.

Advances in tectonics and volcanology were highlighted by Prof. Barry Parsons of Oxford University. Parsons spoke of the role a technique called Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Interferometry, or InSAR for short, has played in measu
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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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