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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Environmental Space Monitoring

Environmental Space Monitoring

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, August 23, 2017/Categories: photography, sustainability, environment

       Klyuchevskoi Volcano, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia 8-20-2017 (credit: Terra satellite & JPL)

Satellites are perfect tools for Earth observation. Satallites track developing storms for weather predictions; they provide information on illegal fishing vessils; monitor environmental changes due to climate change; and they observe volcanic ash (glass) eruptions to alert airlines. A perfect example of this latter use is a recent photograph of a masssive eruption in Siberia.

According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Russia's KlyuchevskoCopyi volcano is one of the world's most active and was observed during a major eruption. The volcanic cone nearly 16,000 feet in height was photographed using infrared sensors on the Terra environmental satellite and seen poking through a thick cloud cover with fine ash streaming high into the atmosphere. Klyuchevoskoi sits on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian 'far east' and is one of many on the peninsula. The volcano is part of the Pacific 'ring of fire' stretching from the Aluetian Islands in Alaska to Japan and Indonesia.

 

              Ash Plume Klyuchevskoi Volcano Erupting on Kamchatka Peninsula, 8-19-2017 (credit: NASA)

The cameras on Terra include the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emmisions and Reflection Radiometer, or ASTER for short. The wide wavelength covered and high resolution offers investigators across numerous fields with vital information for Earth surface mapping, monitoring environmental conditions, and the dynamic changes over time. Thus far applications have included following glacial advances and retreats; seeing active eruptions like Klyuchevskoi; identifying crop stress from pests and diseases in the infrared; wetlands and deforestation monitioring; pollution observations and coral reef degradation as just a few examples.

A passenger on any flight heading to Japan, China, or Southeast Asia crossed the wide volcanic region might be unaware of Terra's environmental sensors but their constant observation of any ash plumes would surely be appreciated.

WHB

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