As of 2022, approximately 1,000 satellites are continually orbiting our planet, taking regular snapshots and measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere and surface. Images and data acquired by these satellites are used in a large variety of applications, from meteorology to natural disaster monitoring, tracking land use and biodiversity trends, and monitoring the effects of climate change. The use of satellites for these purposes is known as earth observation (EO). The University of Malta is currently leading two research projects which make use of EO data and which have a national relevance. The first project, ‘Coastal Satellite Assisted Governance (tools, techniques, models) for Erosion’ (Coastal SAGE), tackles the unrelenting phenomenon of coastal erosion, which is of importance to the Maltese islands as the coast is one of the most-intensely used and visited areas. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) onboard satellites transmit radio waves down to the Earth’s surface and receive back the reflected waves to form an image. The differences in the wave’s properties from two SAR acquisitions taken on different dates can be used to estimate millimetric changes in the positions of large...
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