SWIFT E-News n°11 – 16th June 2010

16th June 2010

In this Issue
1. Highlight: Regulation on the GMES programme and its initial operations 2011-2013
2. The use of Earth Observation satellites in events of volcanic eruptions
3. Earth Observation satellites for monitoring oil spill
4. GMES helps measuring the cost of biodiversity losses in coastal Mediterranean wetlands
5. European Parliament’s resolution on EU agriculture and climate change
6. European Parliament’s resolution on Commission’s White paper on adapting to climate change
7. GMES and Africa Action Plan – draft version seen as a baseline
8. Commission’s analysis of options for increasing carbon cutting in the EU
9. Additional FP7 EU funding to support GMES
GMES Project Corner:
10. Participation of GMES projects in the 2010 Toulouse Space Show

1. Regulation on the GMES programme and its initial operations 2011-2013

The European Parliament’s final draft report on the Commission proposal for a regulation on GMES programme and its initial operations 2011-2013 was unanimously approved by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) on 11 May 2010. In this approved report, representing the achievement of extensive discussions between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers, MEPs included a provision of open access to all satellite data, except security sensitive data. As a next step in the co-decision procedure, the vote by the whole Parliament on the final draft report is scheduled for 16 June 2010.

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2. The use of Earth Observation satellites in events of volcanic eruptions

Following the eruptions of the Islandic volcano Eyjafjallajoekull, which started on 20 March 2010, various Earth Observation satellites were monitoring the spread of the volcanic ash and trace gases that affected seriously the European air traffic. For instances data acquired by the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument of the ESA’s Envisat satellite, the EUMETSAT Meteosat and MetOp satellites as well as the instrument GOME-2 (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment) on MetOp-A were used for producing a series of volcano products. The pre-operational atmosphere and emergency response services of GMES were also activated for enhancing the coordination of the global response to the volcanic eruption. Moreover, SAFER supported the International Charter Space and Major Disasters by monitoring the development of the volcano on a daily basis.

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3. Earth Observation satellites for monitoring oil spill

After the explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, ESA’s Envisat satellite, as well as other SAR satellites, was continuously providing radar imagery of the oil spilling, in the framework of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters. Using advanced processing methods that merge the satellite data with information on surface roughness and current flow, scientists were able to detect changes in direction of the oil spill. Lastly, the results of the undertaken observation show that the upcoming Sentinel-1 SAR instrument of GMES will be very useful for monitoring oil spill thanks to its enhanced measuring capabilities.

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4. GMES helps measuring the cost of biodiversity losses in coastal Mediterranean wetlands

By the end of April 2010, the European Environment Agency published its report 3/2010, which presents how land and ecosystem accounting techniques can be used to describe and monitor the consequences of biodiversity loss in the coastal wetlands of the Mediterranean. In order to be the most effective, accounting approaches must be implemented at different scales. GMES, in particular, can support in the development of macro accounts. The report is intended to cover the study of wetlands, but the above-mentioned tools are applicable to all types of ecosystem approach to policy and management.

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5. European Parliament’s resolution on EU agriculture and climate change

On 5 May 2010 the European Parliament adopted a non-legislative resolution on EU agriculture and climate change, presented by MEP rapporteur Stéphane Le Foll (France, S&D), from the Agriculture and Rural development (AGRI) Committee. The Parliament’s resolution notes that agriculture is contributing to climate change, as one of the main sources of two majors Greenhouse gases (GHGs), nitrous oxide and methane. The Parliament points out how agriculture can contribute to global warming mitigation efforts and it calls on the Commission to promote a more sustainable agricultural model in line with all the aims of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

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6. European Parliament’s resolution on Commission’s White Paper on adapting to climate change

On May 6 2010 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Commission White paper of 1 April 2009 “Adapting to Climate Change: towards a European framework for action”. The draft resolution had been prepared by MEP Vittorio Prodi (Italy, S&D) and presented to the Environment (ENVI) committee on 23 March 2010. The resolution defines a number of objectives, including the development of the knowledge base, the focus on infrastructure, energy and transport. The European Parliament finally calls on the Commission to report to the Parliament by 2012 on progress made to implement the above-mentioned White Paper.

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7. GMES and Africa Action Plan – draft version seen as a baseline

The GMES and Africa Action Plan has been drafted after one year of work during which African and European experts collaborated in paving the way to the long term coordination of Earth Observation (EO) activities in the African continent. A public consultation on the drafted document, seen as a baseline, is currently open until 31 July 2010. The final Action Plan shall be submitted for adoption at the 3rd Africa-EU Summit which will take place in Lybia by the end of 2010. GMES and Africa strategy is a unique opportunity to mobilize, coordinate and leverage the efficient use of EO data and applications with relevance for Africa.

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8. Commission’s analysis of options for increasing carbon cutting in the EU

On 26 May 2010 the European Commission (DG Climate Action) presented a paper analysing what it would take for the EU to move from the binding 20% to a desirable 30% emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2020. On the basis of the analysis of the costs, benefits and options for such a moving as well as the risk of carbon leakage, the Commission concludes that increasing the target to 30% would be both affordable and technically feasible provided that the required conditions are met.

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9. Additional FP 7 EU funding to support GMES

The European Commission (DG Industry and Enterprise), in cooperation with the Research Executive Agency (REA), selected 108 projects from the total 732 proposals that applied for the third call for proposals under the space and security themes of the FP7. In the space domain short-listed project proposals address, among others, the GMES programme and its services. In the recently published Commission’s brochure ‘Desire for space’ 27 space research projects are featured there, including 13 projects dedicated to the GMES downstream services.

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GMES Projects’ Corner+

10. Participation of GMES projects in the 2010 Toulouse Space Show

GMES was presented at the second edition of the “International Week on Space Applications” that took place on 8-11 June 2010 in Toulouse, France. During the 3rd International Space Applications conference (a key event of the Toulouse Space Show), several presentations on GMES were given, notably by representatives of the European Commission, while in parallel, a GMES exhibition stand hosting the EU-funded projects that are developing the pre-operational services of GMES was open throughout the whole week.

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