Satellite data and remote sensing in the spotlight at COP26

COP26 was held in Glasgow from October 31st to November 13th 2021, with the aim to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Glasgow summit was one of the largest ever, with more than 40.000 registered participants, including 22.274 party delegates, 14.124 observers and 3.886 media representatives.

Actions and measures to close the emissions gap and reduce global warming were at the core of discussion.

When talking about climate monitoring, the essential role of satellite data to observe, track and understand changes is apparent. In particular, long term environmental monitoring using satellite data and remote sensing emerged as key contributors to climate research.

In this context, ESA showcased several new missions supporting climate action, with high resolution data on forest biomass and carbon dioxide emissions.

As a result of the 2 weeks summit, the Glasgow Climate Pact emphasises the commitment of countries to work on various major initiatives to address climate change and mitigate its most adverse effects. These include cutting methane emissions, halt and reverse deforestation and protect ocean and maritime environment.

Earth Observation is a precious tool support climate action in these fields, as it provides key data to improve climate models and, thus, forecasts and decision-making. A number of satellite applications already exists and research continues to advance in order to improve the amount, frequency, reliability and quality of data (SURPRISE knows this very well!).

Take a look at how satellite data can be used to monitor methane emissions,   vegetation distribution and density, oceans’ temperature, wave height and level.

Cover picture credits: Photo by Louis Maniquet on Unsplash