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JAXA’s Arctic Sea Ice Observation Data Analysis Results – Ice extent became smallest in observation history -

 

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been observing the Earth by the Global Change Observation Mission 1st – Water “SHIZUKU” (GCOM-W1) since July 3, 2012 (Japan Standard Time.) As a result of our analysis on sea ice data measured by the onboard microwave scanning radiometer, we found that the sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean has become the smallest in observation history. The extent on August 24 (JST) was 4.21 million square kilometers, and that fell below the smallest record of 4.25 million square kilometers marked in 2007 in satellite observation history.

According to our observations, the sea ice extent shrunk to the second smallest in September 2011, and, after that, satellite observation images confirmed that some parts of multi-year ice (which had survived one or several summer and become thick) had flowed into the Atlantic Ocean during winter to spring. In the spring of 2012, we confirmed through satellite image analysis that about a half of the Arctic Ocean was broadly covered by a thin layer of one-year-old ice (which was formed in or after the last summer) thus we estimate that sea ice is getting thinner due to recent temperature increase in the Arctic Ocean.

Arctic sea ice usually becomes smallest in mid to late September; therefore, melting will continue till then. JAXA keeps monitoring the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean by the SHIZUKU to report the latest status via press releases and on our website.

 

Sea ice concentration distribution

http://www.jaxa.jp/press/2012/08/20120825_arctic_sea_e.html#pic1

 

For images of the Arctic sea ice, please refer to the following website

- Earth Observation Research Center (Seen from Space) http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/en/imgdata/topics/2012/tp120825.html

*Downloading images published on the website is free.

To use the images, please place a credit following the conditions stipulated on the “Using JAXA images” page.

Please indicate “(C) Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)”, “(C) JAXA” or “Courtesy of JAXA” unless otherwise noted.

 

[Reference URLs]

- Arctic Sea-ice Monitor

Distribution images of Arctic sea ice concentration and
sea ice area information are updated everyday and provided to the public on the
Arctic Sea-Ice Monitor website using the IARC-JAXA information system (IJIS)
set up at the International Arctic Research Center (IARC), University of
Alaska, by JAXA.

set up at the International Arctic Research Center
(IARC), University of Alaska, by JAXA.

http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/cgi-bin/seaice-monitor.cgi?lang=e

 

- Global Change Observation Mission 1st – Water
“SHIZUKU” (GCOM-W1)

http://www.satnavi.jaxa.jp/project/gcom_w1/index.html

 

 

URL:

http://www.jaxa.jp/press/2012/08/20120825_arctic_sea_e.html

 

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Earth From Space – 50 Years Since Yuri Gagarin Entered Space

This 12th April it is 50 years since the first human entered space and returned safe and sound. Yuri Gagarin was the brave young man who made space exploration history. And it was again our home planet that fascinated first and foremost. What a spectacular view it must have been, and still is for that matter. The view Gagarin had is very similar to the image above and this very view resulted in the now famous words from Gagarin: “I see Earth! It is so beautiful!”

Yuri Gagarin is all over the news these days. He has been, and will even after this year’s anniversary, still be celebrated in the yearly ‘Yuri’s Night’.

Here’s more reading about Yuri Gagarin around the internets:

Gagarin 50 year anniversary at ESA and more on Yuri Gagarin at ESA here

Modern times simulation (from ISS) of Gagarin’s view of Earth

Gagarin at Roscosmos

Gagarin at NASA.

Picturesque Texas a La Braque

If I didn’t know that Georges Braque, the painter who invented cubism together with Pablo Picasso, lived long before we could enjoy satellite images, I would have sworn he had stolen the idea from Earth observation science. Just look for yourselves and observe how similar both Braque’s and Picasso’s paintings are to the above satellite image of a snow covered south-central USA!

I have shown this image on full screen and the reactions are always the same – people are stunned. The relief effect of this particular image is rather rare. Thanks to a combination of a low Sun and the thinly drizzled snow the land use becomes visible in forms of its characteristic geometric shapes. Round shaped irrigated fields, squared crop fields, river and road lines etc are easily identified – at least if you know what to look for and have some in-situ experience. Those huge round irrigated fields cannot be found in Norway. I remember I couldn’t believe my own eyes on my first visit to Texas when I saw the never ending fields that on  top of being over-dimensioned they were also artificially irrigated! Everything is big in Texas, indeed!

Every now and then this southern part of US experiences snow storms. The satellite images show the snow storm event of December 2009.

The Earth as Arts
Ever since I first laid my eyes on a satellite image I have been completely fascinated by their shear beauty. Pure and simple. Today I scan through new and old satellite images on a daily basis just because I cannot help myself – and sometimes for professional reasons of course. I decided I wanted to share some of my favorites with others through The Earth as Arts series here on A Green Space – A Green Earth blog. It will be brought to you once a week, normally on Mondays. Each satellite image is carefully selected based on its looks and not for its quality. My perspective will be both highly professional, deeply personal and sometimes colored by big events on planet Earth. Enjoy!

The Earth as Arts – Algerian Abstract

Seriously, this satellite image could just as well have been a piece of abstract art. It gives me the impression of being made out of different textures and material which of course it also is with sand dunes and rocks etc all included.

The image from Algeria is the first satellite image in a new series here at A Green Space – A Green Earth. This extreme birds-eye perspective on the Tassili n’Ajjer National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Algeria, was published on NASA’s Earth Observatory pages. It can also be found on their Flickr site.

What is striking with this particular image is the immense complexity of shapes and textures of the planetary surface. It looks like a complete mess, but of course underneath there is a structure and definitely an idea behind it. Just like many an abstract painting…

The many colors are created by looking at the park with Landsat-7 in different wavelengths: infrared, near-infrared, and visible light, that enhance the different rock types. Read more about the factual details here. And indulge yourself with a really big version of the satellite image here (9MB).

The Earth as Arts
Ever since I first laid my eyes on a satellite image I have been completely fascinated by their shear beauty. Pure and simple. Today I scan through new and old satellite images on a daily basis just because I cannot help myself – and sometimes for professional reasons of course. I decided I wanted to share some of my favorites with others through The Earth as Arts series here on A Green Space – A Green Earth blog. It will be brought to you once a week, normally on Mondays. Each satellite image is carefully selected based on its looks and not for its quality. My perspective will be both highly professional, deeply personal and sometimes colored by big events on planet Earth. Enjoy!

Volcanoes

One single remotely situated volcano managed to close down the entire European air space for days. The volcano on Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, the small country far north in the middle of the North-Atlantic, may have been known to volcanologists and other geoscientists with a keen interest in a geophysical hot spot like Iceland. But to the rest of us Eyjfjalljökull was unknown until the massive flight cancellations in Europe caused by its ash cloud. Today, Eyjafjalljökull is world famous – though pronouncing its name remains a mystery.

One who knew Eyjafjallajökull very well long before it erupted, is Dr. Kristin Vogfjord. Working as Research Director at the Icelandic Meteorological Office she led a European research project on volcanoes and her group’s contribution were monitoring and analysis of the seismic activity on Eyjafjallajökull. Kristin tells us how the volcanic eruption still managed to surprise her and how the ash is produced in A Green Space – A Green Earth’s volcano edition.

Earth observations from space are being used in all phases of volcanic eruptions; before, during and after. NASA scientists (Dr. Andrea Donnellan and Dr. Paul Lundgren) and leading experts on GPS and InSAR, two space based instruments and techniques applied in all three phases of an eruption, explain how they work and are being used. In particular you’ll learn how closely linked earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are. In fact, we illustrate the geophysical crème brûlée model using a genuine crème brûlée (a delicious French desert).

Eyjafjallajökull did disrupt our lives for days, but there were no casualties. When Mount St. Helens erupted 30 years ago, more than 50 persons lost their lives, including USGS volcanologist David A. Johnston on his observation post. USGS is commemorating Mount St. Helens devastating reawakening on May 18th 1980 with a series of events this summer and fall. We show some of the unique materials made available by USGS and explain why it was so lethal.

Seemingly there is nothing but trouble with these volcanoes. In fact, we can turn it completely around and say there wouldn’t be life on this planet without them. Volcanoes contribute in several ways to keep the Earth system in balance and A Green Space – A Green Earth’s Volcano edition gives you a few examples of how.

Finally, if you would like to impress your friends and colleagues by learning how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull, you can watch this episode over and over again because I say Eyjafjalljökull, like the Icelandic, numerous times. This information might perhaps assist you in your efforts: Eyja=island, fjalla=mountain and jökull=glacier. Good luck!

April 2014
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