Progressive Systems at the “The Mathematics of Climate and the Environment” Forum

On the 2nd of December Beniamino Abis, Research and Support Engineer for the ESA RSS service operated by Progressive Systems, joined the Coupled Climate-Ecology-Economy Modeling and Model Hierarchies workshop to discuss the interactions between climate systems, ecosystems, financial systems and the economy. Hosted by the Institut Henri Poincaré in Paris, the workshop was part of the wider initiative The Mathematics of Climate and the Environment Forum, a trimester of conferences to explore the latest developments in mathematics which will contribute the most in advancing climate and environmental sciences. The Forum is an important appointment for the experts of the sector and counted on the participation of luminaries in the field such as Professor Lars Peter Hansen, 2013 Nobel Laureate in Economics.

Beniamino presented his study on the boreal forest, an ecosystem of key importance in the Earth system which is being considerably affected by climate change. The boreal ecosystem is undergoing environmental changes more rapidly than any other region on Earth and its surface temperature is increasing twice as fast as the global average. More specifically, his presentation focused on: 1) a methodology to identify potential areas with alternative tree-cover states under the same environmental conditions of the boreal forest; 2) a conceptual model to understand if the competition among tree species with high functional diversity in the boreal forest can explain the observed multistability; 3) an investigation on how the multimodality and multistability of the boreal forest could evolve at high latitudes under different scenarios of anthropogenic climate change. Satellite data had a key role in this framework as they allowed to compare climate and tree-cover data from different regions and continents at the same time, providing a more global perspective.
The conceptual model elaborated raised the interest of the participants and an intense discussion followed the presentation with a focus on global coupled models, wildfires role and future scenarios.

More information on the workshop here.

The Province of Viterbo is looking for environmental monitoring solutions

On the 28th of November, in the frame of the ESA Research and Service – RSS support, Progressive Systems welcomed a delegation of officials from different municipalities in the Province of Viterbo at ESRIN premises for a workshop dedicated to the potential applications of Earth Observation for environmental monitoring. The delegation led by Fabio Valentini, Municipal Councillor at Montalto di Castro, was interested in deepening their knowledge about how satellite data can support competent authorities in tackling different challenges of their territory.

The initiative addressed specific needs to the Viterbo area such as detection of fires, monitoring of water level and quality both in inland and coastal areas, flood management and coastal erosion, air quality monitoring as well as vegetation health. Concrete examples of how those issues can be tackled through the use of satellite data were highlighted by the Progressive Systems team while additional challenges also emerged during the intense discussion and exchange of perspectives among the officials.

Satellite data has proven to be an effective tool to manage properly Earth’s resources and impact positively the economy and society. The officials appreciated the initiative as it opened up a range of opportunities for the resolution of major problems in the area whose concrete feasibility will be explored with Progressive Systems in the near future.

A new project preventing West Nile Disease spread in Italy kicks-off

The 17th of September marks the official start of the AIDEO (Artificial Intelligence and Earth Observation data: innovative methods for monitoring West Nile Disease spread in Italy) project, an ESA Science for Society funded initiative, that involves Progressive Systems, the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale D’Abruzzo e del Molise, the AImage Lab of Modena and ReMedia of Frascati.

AIDEO aims at developing a process which intends to verify if West Nile Disease risk maps can be produced by using Earth Observation data and specific Artificial Intelligence algorithms. The innovativeness of the project builds upon an unprecedented amount of high-resolution EO data available through the Copernicus programme, combined with AI techniques in an effort to shape complex relationships for example between the presence of WND and the environment in which it spreads.

Risk maps appear to be highly relevant for competent authorities such as Ministries of Health for a double reason: first of all to develop alert systems able to inform those authorities when the conditions become favourable for the spread of the disease; secondly for the epidemiological surveillance and control of the disease.

A first technical meeting was held on the 23rd of October with the objective of planning the future scientific activities of the project. On that occasion it was agreed to start the analysis of the images with two pilot areas: Pianura Padana and Sardinia that represent epidemiologically interesting territories.