Environmental Benefits of Satellite Tech

Benefits of Satellite Tech

Today, it’s impossible to deny the role of satellites in environmental monitoring. Earth observation from space has opened numerous opportunities to scientists and experts concerned about climate change and the environment in general. And the more breakthroughs happen in space tech, the more opportunities, precision, relevance, and accuracy they offer for different industries. More and more governments and commercial companies utilize the power of satellites for the benefit of different spheres, including environmental protection, and even small non-profit organizations can now use free high resolution satellite imagery. In this piece, we’ll discuss the key environmental benefits modern satellite tech provides.

 But before that, let’s briefly go through European space history to understand how remote environmental monitoring became possible in the first place.

European Satellite History and Examples of Use

The European Space Agency launched its first Earth observation satellite in 1991. The spacecraft initially provided data on ocean surface temperature and marine winds, but 4 years later, it was fitted with an additional sensor to enable atmospheric ozone monitoring. In 2002 came the EnviSat satellite, offering insights on how the atmosphere, oceans and land masses interact. During this time, the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme was established. Later, it acquired the name Copernicus.

The programme covers the major fields: land, ocean, climate, atmosphere, security, and emergencies. It’s key feature is open data, guaranteed coverage, and frequency. Thanks to that, Copernicus has many possible applications including the platform for accessing data and services, Big data/Cloud technologies, hybridising data possibility, and more.

So, how are satellites used in environment and climate change monitoring? First off, more than half of key climate variables can be observed only from space. This includes glacier retreat over time, forest evolution and decline, ice melt in polar regions, and the drying-up of rivers. All this and more helps different industries not only to optimize their processes and stay efficient but to stay sustainable while doing so.

Space and Sustainability

Space and sustainability undeniably go hand in hand. Constantly developing space tech and its innovative applications across different domains have made space and especially satellites an integral part of almost any monitoring processes.

See also  Duke Energy begins operations at nine new Georgia solar sites

Here are some of the main benefits space monitoring enables while increasing sustainability:

  • Greenhouse emissions monitoring. Satellite data can help companies easily track both their CO2 footprint and natural-gas leaks that can happen from oil wells, landfills, industrial operations, and farm sites.
  • Food safety management. Satellite monitoring helps detect illegal fishing and improve food supply chains around the globe also decreasing food waste. Backed up with weather data, reliable and relevant satellite-retrieved information can help optimize agricultural yields and increase farmers efficiency overall.
  • Utilities location management. Satellites aid utility companies in optimizing renewable energy infrastructure. Utilizing sunlight and cloud cover predictive models, they can decide on the best solar panels location and monitor the energy use patterns to balance the load between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.
  • Renewable energy sources monitoring. Satellites are one of the biggest powers when it comes to finding and accessing renewable energy sources. Space monitoring helps to easily discover remote areas with perfect solar or wind conditions best fit to create greater amounts of renewable energy sources hence leading to sustainability in many industries relying on these sources.
  • Global Internet access. While half of the world’s population still lacks access to the Internet, according to a United Nations study, the deployment of satellite constellations could be the solution, offering online access to billions of people living in places where rolling out traditional Internet infrastructure is impossible for whatever reasons.
  • Benefits to adjacent sectors. Space sector development consequently impacts the related sectors like robotics, propulsion, hardware and software, health care, and more. For instance, long-term space exploration missions require deeper knowledge of human physiology in space, leading to improvements in the health industry.
  • Environmental data tracking. Remote sensing of the Earth’s cover is one of the main instruments in almost real-time environmental changes monitoring. It allows for easily collecting and analyzing huge volumes of information for the environment’s state evaluation and deciding on actions needed.

Ways Space Tech Can Improve Life on Earth

Now let’s move on into more detail on how space tech can help benefit the environment.

Battling Climate Change

Space technologies play an important role in climate research, especially with regard to observations and early warning. Information from space travel can help assess the magnitude of climate change, support the development of appropriate adaptation strategies, and contribute to assessing their effectiveness. For example, as part of a global network of measuring systems, satellites allow comprehensive global observations of the climate system. This concerns the effects of deforestation and other land-use changes, industrial emissions, ice melting, the ability to see sea level rise, changes in temperature and other climatic variables.

See also  How To View Instagram DMs On Chrome For Desktop

Space data, services and applications are also vital for continuous and long-term observation of the impact of solar activity on the Earth’s climate, population, and nature.Innovations that help climate change monitoring from space include GPS, AI, 5G, IoT, and robotics.

Weather Patterns Tracking

Meteorological satellites show the overall distribution of individual meteorological parameters across the entire planet. The imagery from these satellites allows scientists to find out the shape and distribution of cloudiness, snow cover, ice in the oceans, the temperature of air and water, zones of precipitation, their intensity, and more. Besides, weather satellites can track droughts, vegetation cycles, ozone holes, sun events, forest fires and deforestation, volcanic activity, tectonic plate movements, etc., which is important for long-term forecasts of weather and climate change.

Animals Tracking

Equipping animals with small transmitters has long been possible thanks to the miniaturization of electronics and sensors. They allow for conveniently observing the behavior of animals without invading their living space. However, the transmitters used provided a very limited range because they used mobile communication technology or simple analog radio communication methods. In contrast, space-based observation systems have a global reach. They can track the movements of birds and other migratory animals easily and in high resolution wherever they go, even across continents.

Despite the fact that we know many migratory species and where they go, researchers have so far not had access to information about their exact routes, their behavior, and the environmental conditions they encounter during their travels. A space animal tracking system will provide the most accurate and up-to-date answers to these questions.

Farm Monitoring

Satellite imagery and climate data have long been used in farming, offering critical data to growers remotely. Satellite imagery can be used to retrieve all the necessary data a farmer may need when cultivating crops (plant health, soil state, field productivity, etc) to save time, increase yields, and be more sustainable and efficient overall.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here