Co-operation strengthens the environmental monitoring of Arctic regions and supports maritime safety, especially in wintertime.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and e-GEOS, an Italian company, have signed a contract for the setting up of a COSMO-SkyMed Receiving station in Sodankylä, Finland to be operated by the FMI and to become operational before the end of 2012.
This important agreement will provide Finland with COSMO-SkyMed direct reception capabilities over the Baltic and a large part of the Arctic areas to monitor ice formation and movements and Arctic changes.
The COSMO-SkyMed SAR Constellation offers a unique revisit capability and rapid access that can support near real time ice breaker’s requirements for maritime safety and transportation activities during winter navigation, for example, but also oil and gas exploration activity monitoring. The COSMO-SkyMed constellation can provide a revisit which cannot be matched by any other systems (i.e. up to 16 acquisitions/day over a specific target at 70°N latitude).
Satellite imagery with X-band SAR allows better detection, measuring and tracking of ice floes on a daily basis. In addition, it gives better information on the size and movement of potential ice features, as well as increasing the ability to forecast their movements.
Thanks to this new partnership, FMI will receive from e-GEOS the rights to distribute COSMO-SkyMed SAR data and develop new and enhanced services for Finnish citizens and Authorities. In exchange, e-GEOS will have the right to use the new Arctic station to exploit COSMO-SkyMed monitoring capabilities with new Near-Real Time services for its own key clients. Furthermore, while FMI will continue to serve its community and ice breakers with new and improved ice services, e-GEOS will be able to offer the same services to its world-wide customers, on an exclusive basis.
Furthermore, a joint research project over the North Pole can begin thanks to this new partnership: with the on-going global changes, the Arctic Community expects part of the North Pole to melt during the Summer and e-GEOS has already put in planning a routine monitoring activity to document the changes. COSMO-SkyMed is actually the only Constellation able to monitor the North Pole.
With the growing interests of the Oil and Gas sector in the Arctic, it’s clear that there is a high business development potential behind such Ice services for e-GEOS and the entire Arctic community. Business development, however, should not forget the environmental challenges that such new activities will bring as a consequence of an increased human traffic.
“The economic, political and scientific importance of the Arctic is rapidly growing. Also the role of the ice-covered Baltic Sea as means for transportation of raw materials and industrial products has become focal”, Petteri Taalas, Director General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute explains. “The combination of COSMO-SkyMed satellite information provided by e-GEOS and the high-level Finnish ice and weather service capabilities will offer excellent new opportunities for the provision of innovative services for the Arctic and the Baltic Sea. The northern area is facing the most rapid climate change, and therefore the satellite data provided by e-GEOS will also be highly beneficial for the climate and marine research.”
Marcello Maranesi, e-GEOS CEO also adds: “ This agreement will be very important for the Artic community, which for the first time will be able to access COSMO-SkyMed with Near-Real Time delivery. Furthermore, established services such as ESA - GMES MyOcean will benefit from this capability – particularly important now that ENVISAT is no longer operational. Finally, the agreement reached with FMI on Ice Charting services will also allow e-GEOS to enlarge its product and service portfolio by combining the e-GEOS Maritime Team’s know-how with FMI’s decades of experience in the ice domain for the benefit of the Oil & Gas and Maritime Transportation Industries.”
Thanks to the new FMI satellite reception station in Tähtelä, Sodankylä, and efficient telecommunications technology, Sodankylä is becoming an international satellite service centre. The new station creates a communications link between satellites and Earth and receives observation material recorded by remote-sensing satellites in polar orbits.
Aside from reception, the Meteorological Institute provides material processing, archiving and distribution services for both Finnish and international actors. At present, the research centre cooperates with bodies such as NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).
e-GEOS is a joint venture of the Italian Space Agency (20%) and Telespazio (80%), a Finmeccanica/Thales company. The COSMO-SkyMed Earth Observation Program of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Italian Ministry of Defence, based on a constellation of four VHR SAR satellites, provides all-weather, day and night, world-wide radar data acquisitions. www.e-geos.i
The Finnish Meteorological Institute is a modern service and research institute. The foundations of all FMI activities are anchored in extensive research and development as well as modern observation and IT technologies. FMI provides innovative and user-driven weather, climate, maritime, ice and environment services for a wide variety of public and private sector customers in Finland and worldwide. The Institute is among the leading atmospheric research organisations in Europe.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute:communications (at) fmi.fi
e-GEOS: communication (at) e-geos.it