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EORC’s role in earth observation field

image:Advisor to the Director General of EORC,Teruyuki Nakajima

Advisor to the Director General of EORC,
Tadahiro Hayasaka

Today, more than 7.7 billion people live on the planet Earth, where global warming, global environmental problems, large-scale natural disasters, etc. occur frequently, and their intertwining complexity makes our future more uncertain. In recent years, abnormal weather such as floods, heat waves and droughts have been occurring repeatedly around the world. In July 2019, heat waves hit Europe with the highest temperature of 42.6℃ in Paris, France. Also, long-term and widespread forest fires caused serious damage not only for human society but also for wildlife and vegetation during 2019 in Australia. Japan is no exception, and it is still fresh in our memories that the typhoons No. 15 and No. 19, which occurred in 2019, caused severe damage. Even after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, earthquakes in Kumamoto and Hokkaido caused serious damage. Observations over a wide area with earth observation satellites are important to accurately understand the status of these disasters and global environmental change and to clarify the mechanisms and take countermeasures.

It has been almost 60 years since the image of the earth was firstly taken by vidicon camera on board TIROS 1 launched in April 1960. Currently, a variety of wavelengths including ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and microwave are used in satellites observation. So it is available to quantitatively capture the complex phenomena occurring on the Earth's surface, such as physical properties of clouds, aerosols and precipitation, estimation of greenhouse gas emission, the relationship between changes in land use and socio-economic activities, changes in sea surface temperature, sea ice and snow ice area and those relationship with climate change. In addition, it is also possible to grasp the high-resolution topography using synthetic aperture radar, and to catch the actual aspects of precipitation and clouds in three dimensions with precipitation radar and cloud profiling radar.

Based on the background described above, JAXA EORC collaborates with domestic and overseas researchers and research institutes to open new frontiers of knowledge, disaster prevention, industry and security in a broader sense by taking advantage of Japan's strengths of science and technology. EORC will promote research and technological development of satellite to contribute to creating a better society and a better future.

(Written in April 2020)

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