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A step closer to NASA

Alisi Vucago
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

THE first-ever Satellite Remote Sensing Summer School offered by Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) will teach Fijians how to access data from National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) fleet of satellites.

This will allow people to master the detection of upcoming tropical cyclones, depressions and weather forecasts.

The data also includes ocean heat content and ocean temperature which reflect the state of the ocean including the health of fisheries, water quality and coral reefs.

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu stressed on the importance of the program at the opening of the remote sensing course at the Japan ICT Centre at the University of the South Pacific (USP) yesterday.

"Last week's outbreak of ciguatera fish poisoning on Gau, with four men dead, reminds us of the importance of coastal fisheries for Fiji's villages and how we need the tools and data to better guarantee coral reef and ocean health to protect against the stress of climate change and ocean acidification," he said.

"Forecasting weather, tropical cyclones, and tropical depressions require clear maps of wind speed, wind direction, cloud cover and rainfall are all important variables that can be mastered with the remote sensing tools provided in this training."

PaCE-SD director Professor Elizabeth Holland said every citizen on the planet who had a computer, the skills and the sufficient internet bandwidth could access the data and images being collected by NASA's fleet of satellites.

"We are the guardians of 166 million square kilometres of the world's largest ocean and together, we can build Pacific-based research to make our world, our planet a better place," Prof Holland said.

Dr Bruce Monger of Cornell University in New York will be the co-ordinator for the two-week long free course.

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