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Envisat monitoring China floods as part of Dragon Programme

and other satellite sensors for the building up of land use databases for flood disaster assessment. Also recounted was how using ASAR in multipolarisation mode improves the definition and mapping of flood extents, and the measuring of soil moisture content in the upper surface layer.

Dragon at sea

Water away from the land proved another promising thematic area, with oceanographers taking a particular interest in the China Seas.

Presentations covered how ocean colour measurements made by Envisat's MERIS can reveal marine phytoplankton populations important as the base of the marine food web and a key sink of carbon as well as suspended sediment.

Researchers are building up a database of water optical properties as well as atmospheric correction for the region and developing a method of monitoring 'red tide' events when local conditions cause phytoplankton numbers to explode out of control. MERIS is also being used to look at the estuary of the Yangtze River, whose waters have some of the highest sediment content in the world.

Parameters of waves on the surface of the East China Sea are being studied with ASAR data, while teams are using Envisat's heat-sensitive Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) in conjunction with ASAR and MERIS to study the Kuroshio Current, which is the Chinese equivalent of Europe's Gulf Stream, flowing from the Philippines to northern Japan.

Dragon in the air

The air over China is also an area of interest to Dragon researchers, with satellites proving an especially useful tool for analysing trends and seasonal variations in atmospheric pollution.

Envisat's Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) can identify multiple trace gases including the pollutant nitrogen dioxide created artificially by vehicle exhausts, fossil fuel burning and heavy industry. SCIAMACHY results tally with previous resul
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-694-180-856
European Space Agency
3-Aug-2005


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