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Conference of the Europäische Akademie: Remote Sensing Regional Climate Change

Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, 6 June 2011. - The Europäische Akademie together with the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) and the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) organised a two-day conference on "Remote Sensing Regional Climate Change. Potentials and Options to Adapt" in Vienna from 26 to 27 May. Around 50 experts from science, space technology and policy met to discuss the increasingly important role of remote sensing for the detection, monitoring and management of regional climate change.

The debate on actions to mitigate climate change often focuses on the global scale. However, monitoring regional climate change may enable early action as the regional perspective is more accessible to human intervention. The action could be directed towards adaption to climate change as well as towards utilisation of any beneficial climate effects. Remote sensing data might provide the necessary information to detect local and regional risks but might also offer opportunities such as mining of uncovered resources or opening of new transport lines in a timely, efficient and specific manner. On the first conference day, ESPI's Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl together with Stephan Lingner (Deputy Director of the Europäische Akademie) and Rainer Sandau (Chairman of the International Policy Advisory Committee at ISPRS) welcomed the participants and introduced to the conference. The first session brought the notion to the participants that climate change is becoming part of our human culture. Presentations were given by Andreas Hense (Meteorological Institute, Bonn University) and Hans von Storch (Institute for Coastal Research, Helm-holtz-Zentrum Geesthacht). A lively debate between the speakers and the audience unraveled the plausible but still uncertain human interference with regional climates as well as the potential of remote sensing information to reduce this uncertainty. The session closed with a philosophical talk by Carl Friedrich Gethmann, Director of the Europäische Akademie, on how to deal with the uncertain and limited knowledge in the field of climate research and geo-engineering. The second conference day was divided into two sessions: Leen Hordijk (European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability) chaired the first session on space applications for assessing and managing climate change impacts. In the course of it Yves-Louis Desnos (European Space Agency, ESA), Cynthia Maan (ESA), Gunter Schreier (ISPRS) as well as ESPI's Resident Fellows Jana Robinson addressed the potentials and options to adapt to climate change by using remote sensing data. The session set the framework for a presentation on the policy challenges for Europe given by the chairman of ESPI's Advisory Council Her-bert Allgeier. Furthermore, two round table discussions were moderated by Kai-Uwe Schrogl (ESPI). Whereas the first one questioned whether we already had the appropriate satellite capabilities and capacities to analyse and assess regional climate change, the second round table was devoted to the actual management of climate change with satellites as means. Both round tables stressed the specific value of the existing space infrastructure for climate impact sensing and its management. For certain applications, however, a more specific and efficient suite of space sensors would be desirable.

The proceedings with papers emanating from the presentations together with an elaboration of the conclusions and recommendations will be published within the ESPI's Report Series.

The event was co-funded by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

idw :: 06.06.2011