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We wish you contemplative holidays
with your family and plenty of time for nice things that have been neglected in the last few months.
Let's start the New Year 2021 confidently despite all the limitations.
Success story: Handover of ZKI-DE service to BKG
21 December 2020
The Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) at the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) has developed "ZKI-DE", a service specifically for federal institutions. It has been successfully operated for eight years. At the end of 2020, this ZKI-DE service will be handed over to the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG). For German authorities, the federal continuation is an important step.
Huge iceberg A68a grounded near South Georgia
17 December 2020
Recent data recorded by TerraSAR-X show that the northern end of iceberg A68a obviously ran aground near South Georgia, causing a large piece of the iceberg to break off. With its immense size of 145 km in length and 45 km in width it is almost as large as the island itself. According to the latest assessments it has rotated back toward the south and abandoned its direct course of collision with the island. However, it is still very near the critical ocean depth of 200 metres, so it could still become entirely grounded on the ocean floor and remain at South Georgia for some time. This scenario would represent a serious threat for the hundreds of thousands of penguins and seals living on South Georgia. Because of its length, A68a could block off access to feeding grounds, which would have grave effects on the fauna of this South Atlantic island.
Atlas of the Paraguayan Chaco
17 December 2020
The Chaco is a South American landscape characterized by dry forests and thorn-bush savannas. It takes up over 60% of Paraguay’s total area and provides a habitat for species such as the lowland tapir and the jaguar. However, extensive disruption to the natural ecosystem seriously endangers its biodiversity. In a project financed by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety, collaboration between EOC and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has produced an Atlas of the Paraguayan Chaco.
Ozone Hole 2020 - especially stable and distinct
10 December 2020
The ozone hole over the southern hemisphere is the largest ever recorded and it is still there, although it is meanwhile December. Chemical processes and the strength of the polar vortex determine the prominence of the ozone hole. This vortex can be imagined as a large low-pressure zone above the pole, extending from the troposphere up into the stratosphere (from the ground up to an altitude of 50 km). The cold polar night of winter in the southern hemisphere gives rise to a strong west wind, prompted by large pressure differences between the polar region and its surroundings, as well as by the Coriolis force. This wind forms the outer edge of the polar vortex and hinders to a large extent the exchange of air masses between the equator and the pole.
New climate guardian in space – Sentinel-6 will monitor global rise in sea levels
22. November 2020
With the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, a new 'climate guardian' will observe Earth from space. On 21 November 2020 at 18:17 CET (09:17 local time), the eighth satellite of the European Copernicus programme is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California (US) on board a Falcon 9 launcher. "Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time," explains Walther Pelzer, a member of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Executive Board and Head of the DLR Space Administration.
BLOG: 40 Years DFD – 40 years of international cooperation
11 November 2020
by Gunter Schreier, at DFD since 1985
For more than eight months the whole world has been in the state of emergency that goes by the name of COVID-19. Like most of my DLR colleagues I too am working from home.
90 Kilometres above the Antarctic – lowest temperatures since measurements began
05 November 2020
Since 2013 the Earth Observation Center and the Alfred-Wegener Institute have jointly operated a monitoring station in the Antarctic to record the temperature of the atmosphere at 90 kilometres altitude. Record-high temperatures are being recorded worldwide for Earth’s surface, but the temperatures high above the Antarctic in 2020 have never been so low since the measurements began. EOC scientists suspect that these extreme values correlate with global warming.
BLOG: 40 Years DFD – Beginning the Analysis of Remote Sensing Data
04 November 2020
by Hon.-Prof. Dr Rudolf Winter, DFD Remote Sensing Applications department head from 1980 until 1996
Looking back to 1978, I see a particularly competent team in Oberpfaffenhofen successfully taking in hand the brand-new topic of the digital image processing of remote sensing data. It was almost a Silicon Valley atmosphere. The point of departure was image data from the successful earth observation satellites Landsat (from 1972 on) and Spot (from 1986).
BLOG: 40 years DFD – Origin and Development of the German Processing and Archiving Facility for ERS-1
30 October 2020
by Dipl.-Ing. Jörg Gredel, DFD Information Systems department head until 1998, and then head of Strategic Planning and Resources at DFD and EOC until December 2002
Winfried Markwitz has already incisively summarized the most significant events leading up to the establishment of DFD. Reading his retrospect brought back many memories, since Winfried Markwitz was my direct superior from 1967 until his retirement in September 1996.
HumTechDays – the humanitarian world visits DLR
28 October 2020
Aerospace technologies often enable applications that lie outside their intended field of use. Of particular interest here are activities in humanitarian aid.
For this reason, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has launched an initiative for "Humanitarian Technologies" in 2019. This year's DLR-HumTechDays will take place on 28 and 29 October.
BLOG: 40 years DFD – The Genesis of DIMS
28 October 2020
by Kurt Schmidt, former head of the Information Technology Department (DFD-IT)
With the text that follows I am responding to the friendly request to supply a few remarks on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of DFD – making it by all means personal, if possible with a touch of humour, and perhaps focusing on the genesis of DIMS, in whatever way I see fit. DLR has been in my thoughts anyway, ever since I ceased working there; I drive past it almost daily. My memories are quite alive. For me, DLR is one of the felicitous institutions.
ZKI participates in development of remote controlled truck mission for WFP
27 October 2020
As part of a new collaborative project, researchers from the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and a consortium of additional DLR institutes and technology partners are investigating how aid supplies can be safely brought to their destinations using remote-controlled trucks.
PART 4/4 – From Cluster AF to Earth Observation Center (EOC)
26 October 2020
A milestone of functional effectiveness and inner cohesion of Clusters AF in Oberpfaffenhofen was situating most of the departments in two neighbouring buildings, 121 (the traditional DFD premises since 1989) and 122, an existing building that had its best years behind it and needed renovation.
PART 3 – A larger context: establishing the applied remote sensing cluster
21 October 2020
We were hardly used to our new roles when new structural adversities threatened. The Executive Board established a structure commission spanning individual institutes and physical locations to evaluate the two fields “earth observation” and “communication/navigation”.
40 years German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD)
The German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) turns 40 years old. DFD has been receiving and analyzing images from earth observation satellites since 1980. More than 21 terabytes of data are processed and processed there daily. Today, the German Satellite Data Archive (D-SDA) established by DFD provides access to 29 petabytes of remote sensing data from four decades. The data volume corresponds to video material with a lifetime of more than 800 years.
From space for the earth
19 October 2020
40 years German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), 20 years Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF), 20 years Earth Observation Center (EOC)
20 Years Remote Sensing Technology Institute
19 October 2020
Personal reflections on the 20th anniversary of the Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF) by Richard Bamler
In the last two years, all research in the Helmholtz Association has been subjected to extensive scientific and strategic evaluation. Our program topic Earth Observation received the highest marks in all evaluation points. I am happy to quote the statement of the evaluation spokesperson: "Earth Observation is actually a diamond in the crown [of DLR's Space Program]". An important criterion for success is our system capability, i.e. the scientific and technological mastery of the entire chain from sensor and mission development and operation to geoscientific research.
BLOG: For Remote Sensing, PART 2/4 – Cornerstones of the first two decades
16 October 2020
Any look back can easily be influenced by the vantage point of one’s own activities and perceptions. For that reason I want to first mention in Part 2 some additional fundamental decisions about the future course of DFD that continue to have an effect up to the present.
BLOG: For Remote Sensing, Part 1/4 - My first years in the DFVLR
14 October 2020
by Prof. Stefan Dech, DFD Director since 1998.
Ozone hole exceeds 20 million square kilometres
07 October 2020
Measurements from Europe‘s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite show that this year the ozone hole for the period since mid-September is larger in area than the average value for all years since 1979.
Forest fires in the USA
21 September 2020
The forest fires of the last days in the USA are considered to be the most severe since recording. The smoke fields in the MODIS images of the Terra and Aqua satellites extend over several thousand kilometers. The smoke particles could also be measured in Germany. Here, they led to spectacular sunrises and sunsets because the smoke particles filter blue light more strongly and allow more red light to pass through.
AI counts participants at major events
18 September 2020
Whether concert, rally, demonstration or fair: In order to ensure the safety - and in times of a pandemic also the health - of large crowds of people, it is important to know the exact number of visitors. This year, a new aspect was added: infection prevention. In order to ensure safety in this broader sense, accurate visitor numbers have become even more important today than before.
Anniversary in the Arctic Circle - A decade of satellite data reception in Inuvik
When the Sun is shining and there is no wind, Inuvik’s annual average temperature of minus 10 degrees Celsius does not seem so bad. But when the weather turns, the Arctic reveals its true nature. Storm clouds gather in the infinite blue sky, gusts of wind blow a gale, and buildings and vegetation vanish into the white vastness within minutes. In winter, the temperature can drop to as low as minus 45 degrees Celsius. During the short summer, clouds of mosquitoes billow from the countless puddles, ponds and lakes. With temperatures rising up to 30 degrees Celsius, the permafrost is transformed into a slushy morass. Why on Earth would anyone want to set up a ground station here?
BLOG: World Settlement Footprint - Where do humans live?
by Mattia Marconcini; 09 September 2020
After three years of meticulous data processing and comprehensive quality control, the World Settlement Footprint 2015 is now available. With a resolution of 10 metres, the new world map reveals settlement structures on Earth in 2015.
Happy Birthday, DFD!
01. September 2020
On September 1, 1980 – 40 years ago today – the German Remote Sensing Data Center DFD began work on “Mission Remote Sensing” as an independent DLR entity. In August 1980 the executive board of what was then called the "German Test and Research Institute for Aviation and Space Flight" (DFVLR) decided to establish a new institute. Initially named "Applied Data Technology", it was placed under the leadership of Prof. Winfried Markwitz.
Explosion in Beirut, Lebanon
07 August 2020
On August 4, 2020, a heavy explosion in Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, killed over a hundred people and left many hundred thousand homeless.
The explosion took place in the harbor area at 18:08 local time. It was probably caused by a large quantity of ammonium nitrate stored at a warehouse in the port.
Members of the Bundestag Karsten Klein and Lukas Köhler visit EOC
30 July 2020
A fact-finding visit led Bundestag members Karsten Klein (FDP) and Dr. Lukas Köhler (FDP) to the EOC in Oberpfaffenhofen on 29 July 2020. The FDP politicians were particularly interested in applications in the field of environment and climate. In the Earth Observation Center, the delegates then discussed the possible applications of earth observation. The focus was on the Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI).
Federal Minister Altmaier and Member of Parliament Dobrindt visit UFS Schneefernerhaus
27 July 2020
On 24 July 2020, Federal Minister of Economics and Energy, Peter Altmaier and Member of the Bundestag and Chairman of the CSU Regional Group in the German Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt visited Germany's highest research station: the Schneefernerhaus (UFS) on the Zugspitze. Thanks to its high alpine location, the environmental research station offers unique opportunities for environmental, climate and altitude research. The German Aerospace Center (DLR), as one of a total of ten consortium partners, conducts research there, among other things, on atmospheric temperature at high altitude and analyses changes that contribute to the improvement of climate models and the early detection of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes or tsunamis.
ZKI-Support for India and 6 other disaster regions
17 July 2020
Within the framework of the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters', DLR-ZKI has been activated seven times in the past two weeks, six of the activations being due to heavy rainfall with subsequent flooding and landslides in Asia (Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Japan, and Myanmar).
Noctilucent clouds over Bavaria
07 July 2020
After sunset these past few days we were offered a spectacle quite unusual at our latitudes. Although the sun had already retreated below the horizon, silvery cloud structures became visible, so-called “noctilucent clouds”. Noctilucent clouds are not conventional clouds and thus of considerable interest to scientists. They are visible ambassadors of the climate change that is under way. .
International Astronautical Federation (IAF): Award for EOC employee
06 July 2020
Gunter Schreier, deputy director of DLR’s German Remote Sensing Data Center, was honoured by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) with its “Distinguished Service Award 2020” in recognition of his outstanding services to the Federation as Chairmen of the Earth Observation Committee. Gunter Schreier has been a member of this committee since 2010 and its chairman from 2015 to 2018.
Six new missions for the European Copernicus Earth observation programme
01 July 2020
Sentinel satellites are at the heart of Copernicus, Europe's largest Earth observation programme. Sentinels are already reliably and continuously providing large amounts of data on the state of the climate, vegetation and oceans. Now, six more 'Earth Guardians', the High Priority Candidate Missions (HPCM), are being added.
Congratulations, TanDEM-X – 10 years of 3D mapping from space
25 June 2020
A new era in radar remote sensing began 10 years ago, on 21 June 2010, when the radar satellite TanDEM-X was launched. Since then, it has been orbiting Earth in close formation flight with TerraSAR-X, its three-year-older 'twin'. The distance between the satellites varies between several kilometres and sometimes only 120 metres. This enables the radar sensors to obtain a 3D view of Earth.
Project EisKlass2 improves sea ice services using satellite data
24 June 2020
With advancing global warming, waters in Arctic regions are becoming increasingly interesting for shipping. Sea ice can become a risk there. With EisKlass2, DLR is developing a prototype application to enable ships to pass safely through ice fields.
Cyclon Amphan - DLR supports with satellite images
29 May 2020
On May 20, 2020, tropical cyclone Amphan made landfall on the northeast coast of India and the south coast of Bangladesh. According to the Indian Meteorological Service, it is one of the worst storms in the region in the last 20 years. More than three million people were taken to emergency shelters. This is a particular challenge due to the corona pandemic.
DESIS supports Hyperspectral Copernicus Mission CHIME
27 May 2020
Starting in May 2020, the imaging spectrometer DESIS on the ISS (International Space Station) will additionally record data in preparation for the hyperspectral Copernicus mission CHIME.
MetOp-C takes over: Ozone Monitoring based on GOME-type satellite data at DLR for a quarter of a century
26 May 2020
Watching the animation of the annual reopening of the Ozone hole in the austral spring reminds us to the damage mankind has caused to our planet’s atmosphere through the industrial release of chlorofluorocarbons in the past. This visualization has been created at DLR from a 25 years long European satellite data series from Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) type instruments which are hosted in the archives of EOC. The quarter-of-a-century long data-time-series is now continued by a new satellite starting to deliver data.
20 years DEMMIN – A research platform in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
25 May 2020
The COPERNICUS initiative of the European Union (EU) and the European Space Agency (ESA) is aimed at developing remote-sensing based information products and services. This requires establishing validation sites that provide ground truth data. For 20 years DLR has operated the DEMMIN remote sensing validation site.
Artificial intelligence in earth observation
06 May 2020
In May 2020 three “International Future Labs for Artificial Intelligence”, the outcome of a competition launched by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), will begin work. One of them is the Future Lab ‘Artificial Intelligence for Earth Observation: Reasoning, Uncertainties, Ethics and Beyond’ (AI4EO), led by Munich Technical University (TUM) in collaboration with the DLR Earth Observation Center. It will be concerned with the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in earth observation.
Despite weather influence -- corona effect now indisputable
27 April 2020
Some 4 billion people are currently affected by lockdown measures connected with the coronavirus pandemic. It is therefore not surprising that monitoring by Europe's Sentinel 5P satellite reveals a strong decrease in air pollution globally. Especially nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels are a good indicator of air contamination caused by industrial production and road traffic.
50 Years "Earth Day" - Satellites observe dramatic changes of our earth
22 April 2020
Millions of people took to the streets in the USA on April 22, 1970 - 50 years ago today - to demonstrate against oil spills, environmental pollution, whaling and toxic waste - and in doing so, they launched an initiative that would soon cover the entire globe: The environmental movement that today's "Earth Day" commemorates has left its mark on our civilization - in many cases with essential insights from outer space.
DLR technologies for humanitarian aid
14 April 2020
Technologies that are developed for space travel have to meet extreme requirements for their task in space: The systems and devices must not only be robust, safe, compact, light and easy to handle, but also function reliably and autonomously.
Copernicus Masters 2020 launched
07 April 2020
This year's DLR Copernicus Masters Challenge Environment, Energy and Health has started! Ideas and solutions leading to more sustainable management of our earth can be submitted from the beginning of April until the end of June. Especially at times of global change, pandemics and climate change this is more important than ever before. The specific focus of DLR is on managing the environment, natural resources, and the energy economy. In addition, human welfare, the connection between health and environmental factors, and the effects of epidemics are an important topic.
Innovative analyses as possible triggers for a satellite-based recording
03 April 2020
Experimental map products based on heterogeneous data streams like Twitter and media analysis tools:
In order to ensure a continuous improvement of satellite-based crisis information, ZKI is involved, i. a. together with the DLR project UKIS, in the research of new applied methods and the development of relevant products for the users in disaster management, humanitarian aid and civil security.
Relaunch for CODE-DE: The national earth observation portal is launched
01 April 2020
The earth observation portal CODE-DE (Copernicus Data and Exploitation Platform - Germany) has a new face: new interactive applications and data products as well as improved individual user support have been available to users since 1 April 2020.
Digitisation in agriculture — Field testing DLR technologies
30 March 2020
Remote sensing data can be useful in agriculture for increasing productivity while protecting the environment and biodiversity. In the "AgriSens DEMMIN 4.0 – Remote sensing technologies for digitisation in plant cultivation" project, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is assessing remote sensing technologies suitable for digitisation applications in the agriculture sector through regional field testing at an experimental site in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Unusual ozone hole over the Artic
25 March 2020
We got used to the fact that an ozone hole appears every year in the Antarctic spring. Due to special meteorological conditions this spring a similar effect is observed over the northern polar region. The ozone hole is caused by the combination of temperatures below -80°C, sunlight, and ozone depleting substances (ODS). In contrast to the Antarctic, the Artic polar vortex in the spring is less stable and the temperatures inside the vortex are relative warm.
5. 5th Symposium of the Virtual Alpine Observatory in Bern
4 - 6 February 2020
On February 4, the fifth symposium of the Virtual Alpine Observatory (VAO) was opened at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Over the following three days, scientists from France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Finland and ESA discussed the impact of climate change on the Alpine region and comparable mountain regions in Europe.
Congratulations, TerraSAR-X, on the 70,000st!
30 January 2020
At Gars O’Higgins in the Antarctic there was good reason to celebrate. The German radar satellite TerraSAR-X orbited the earth for the 70,000th time. Among other places, its data are acquired at the German Gars O’Higgins receiving station that is operated by DLR and the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy and supported year-round by EOC staff.
BLOG: With Agulhas II into "perennial ice"
Progress report part 1 - 6
It began toward the end of September 2019 in a discussion with Dr. Christine Wesche of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). The idea of using a supply trip by the icebreaker S.A. Agulhas II to the AWI Antarctic station to conduct some research at the same time evolved in a few weeks with the support of DLR, AWI, and not least also my family, into a concrete plan. After the obligatory medical check-up and instruction about environmental protection in the Antarctic we were to head toward South Africa already in mid-January.
MdB Schrodi visits EOC
23 January 2020
Michael Schrodi (SPD), a member of the German parliament, visited DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen on 22 January 2020. His interest in climate protection and climate change also brought him to EOC.
Sentinel-PAC Contract at EOC extended to end of 2020
22 January 2020
For five years EOC has been processing the raw data from the four Sentinel satellites (Sentinel-1A and -1B as well as Sentinel-3A and -3B) on behalf of ESA. This contract has now been renewed for another year.
Smart data for sustainable cities
20 January 2020
Earth observation and artificial intelligence can be used to assist with sustainable development decisions. Some years ago, Earth underwent an epochal change, albeit one that was consciously perceived by only a few of us. For the first time in human history, more people are living in cities than in rural areas. Although this might not seem particularly remarkable at first glance, this change will ultimately affect each and every one of us, whether directly or indirectly – because the future is urban.
Bremen finance senator visits DLR in Bremen
20 January 2020
Bremen's finance senator, Dietmar Strehl, paid a visit to DLR in Bremen. Scientists at the EOC Maritime Safety and Security Lab informed the senator about the numerous capabilities of radar remote sensing of the oceans.
New earth observation sensors
15 January 2020
Aerial remote sensing supplements earth observation from space and contributes to the development of new satellite instruments and analytic methodologies. The cameras in use so far at EOC are now being replaced by new, improved instruments. They are available to all DLR scientists and their cooperating partners via the EOC user-service Optical Airborne Remote Sensing (OpAiRS).
Ice pilot: EOC sea ice analyses for maritime navigation in Arctic waters
14 January 2020
Sea ice can be dangerous for ships. If it is shoved together by storms, pressure ridges several metres thick can form, invincible even for icebreakers. EOC is working on methodologies for distinguishing types of sea ice and monitoring their drift to identify where potential pressure ridges could form. For this purpose EOC scientists rely on radar images that provide a picture of the ice situation regardless of cloud cover or polar night. For the analysis near Price Patrick Island in Canada shown here a time series recorded by the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X was used.
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