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The Lodos winds and the Sahara

Dust from the Sahara Desert sweeps over the Mediterranean sea and into Turkey.

On February 1st 2015 Western Turkey and Greece experienced something quiet surreal, a strong south-westerly wind that was so strong that it produced large waves, damaged buildings and had many flights grounded in both countries. This wind which the local Turks call Lodos, literary meaning “southern wind” is a common occurrence and can happen as many as twenty times a year, sometimes with debilitating results.

Although it produces a great deal of turbulent waters in the Mediterranean and even in parts of the Black Sea it on occasion picks up dust from the Sahara desert in Africa. This dust is often carried as far north as Southern Ukraine and is very mineral rich. Although the minerals have been stated to be very beneficial to plant life in the area, prolonged exposure to humans can cause headaches, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. At its hight the dust cloud can cripple urban centres as visibility drops to near blinding and all major transport is halted, this includes planes, trains, cars and even sea vessels. At times the Bosphorus Strait is even closed off till the winds and dust subside.

The below images captured by the MODIS instrument on board the Aqua satellite showing the extent of the dust stretching across the Mediterranean Sea and over Greece and Turkey.

The dust cloud can be clearly seen here over the Mediterranean Sea. Image courtesy of NASA.

 

The dust cloud highlighted in shades of orange. Image courtesy of NASA.

More images of the event can be seen on NASA’s Worldview website here.

If you would like to know more about Scantherma’s remote sensing services you can drop by our Perth office where one of our technicians will be glad to assist, or alternatively you can visit the remote sensing section of our website here.

Digital Globe’s Worldview 3 Launched

Digital Globe’s WorldView-3 multi-spectral Earth observation satellite was successfully launched on board a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket on August 13th. Taking off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California the Atlas 5 rocket carried the nearly 3 tonne satellite into a polar sun-synchronous orbit at about 629 kilometres above the Earth’s surface.

Launch of Atlas AV-014 ICO G1

Digital Globe’s WorldView-3 blasting off on board the Atlas 5-401 rocket.

It’s the 10th of 15 launches planned by United Launch Alliance for 2014, and quite an exciting one at that as Worldview-3 is the first satellite to provide high-res multi-spectral imagery for commercial use and is designed to be operational for a minimum of 7.5 years.

ula_atlas_v_launch_wolrdview3_081314_945

Video of the Atlas 5 launch.

Earlier this year the US Department of Commerce approved a request by Digital Globe to make its ultra-sharp 25cm resolution imagery available for commercial use. Something that was previously only available to the US government and military. This new policy enables Digital Globe to provide 46cm resolution imagery immediately from its satellites currently in orbit, the GeoEye-1 and WorldView-2 satellites. The policy was however accompanied with a requirement, that Digital Globe is to wait until six months after WorldView-3 is fully operational before it can start offering the satellite’s 30cm resolution imagery to commercial costumers.

If you would like more information on the WorldView-3 satellite please follow the links below.

Scantherma_Icon_PNG                 Our WorldView-3 blog

Ball            Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp

ULA logo     United Launch Alliance

 

 

 

Digital Globe’s World-View 3

WorldView-3 prepared and ready for launch

Ball Aerospace’s WorldView-3 satellite has arrived at the Vandenberg Air Force Base ready for launch. It has gone through and passed a full suite of environmental, functional and performance tests in preparation for integration with the launch vehicle, an Atlas 5  Rocket, along with thorough pre-ship reviews by Ball Aerospace and DigitalGlobe. Slated for launch in mid August 2014 it will settle to a final orbital altitude of 617 km above the Earth. It’s the newest of Digital Globe’s orbital remote sensing platforms and the youngest in the WorldView family after WorldView 1 and 2.

The Atlas 5 Launch platform (rocket) ready for take off.

Combined Technologies

There is much excitement surrounding this launch as WorldView-3 has a few new tools in it’s belt.  Ball Aerospace have combined the knowledge and technologies gained through the development and successful launch of  WorldView -1 and -2, QuickBird, QuikSCAT, ICESat, CloudSat, NPP, and Radarsat to develop this new platform. It will be the first multi-payload, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite for earth observations and advanced geospatial data.

WorldView-3 will be collecting imagery at 31 cm panchromatic resolution, 1.24m multi-spectral resolution, 3.7m short-wave infrared (SWIR) resolution, and 30m CAVIS resolution. All this would not be possible if not for the 1.1m aperature telescope (built by Exelis) that allows it resolutions not achievable by smaller satellites.

Worldview-3 satellite pre-launch diagnostics and tests at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp lab

 

 Great news for Remote Sensing

Up until recently Digital Globe was only licensed to sell imagery of less than 50 cm panchromatic, 2.0m multi-spectral, or 7.5 meter SWIR resolution to the US Military. Now it has been permitted to provide images of up to 25cm (panchromatic) and 1.0m (multi-spectral) to all its customers. Image resolution and clarity that has not been seen before in the commercial market. This high resolution satellite imagery will be available approximately six months after WorldView 3 becomes operational.

If you would like to know more about satellite imagery and Scantherma’s remote sensing services please visit our remote sensing page or drop in to our Perth office during business hours.