Category: eo4sd

New brochure: Using Earth Observation to inform urban development and increase resilience in Monrovia

New brochure: Using Earth Observation to inform urban development and increase resilience in Monrovia

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development Climate Resilience (EO4SD CR) has released a new brochure providing an overview of its work supporting Monrovia’s Integrated Development Project (MIDP). MIDP has applied EO data to support its efforts to identify pragmatic, spatially integrated and location specific integrations that contribute to service delivery, improved welfare, and the creation of jobs throughout the local area and in the rest of Liberia.

Click here to download the brochure.

The brochure describes how the EO4SD CR cluster supported MIDP in combining high resolution EO data with projections relating to shoreline erosion and sea level rise in order to create a hot spot analysis of flooding in Monrovia. This flood risk model helps to identify the more effective actions to manage flood risk, develop adaptation plans, and consider where to natural flood management could be most effective. Additionally, by overlaying high-resolution satellite imagery, critical infrastructure and settlements can be identified, and their flood risk assessed. This enables decision makers to make informed decisions about the suitability of developing sites providing crucial infrastructure services, such as transport hubs and hospitals.

The EO4SD CR cluster provides insight about the potential of Earth Observation (EO) data to support climate-resilient decision making at the regional and national scale. In collaboration with several International Financial Institutions, the EO4SD CR cluster has developed EO-based screening and risk management products that can be integrated into different platforms and project cycles.

Other summaries of EO4SD CR projects can be found here, as well as a webinar series outlining how different EO data products have been used and hands-on guided sessions on how to use the different data platforms.


This article was originally posted on the EO4SD website.
New brochure: Improving drought, wetlands, and surface water monitoring in West Africa using EO data

New brochure: Improving drought, wetlands, and surface water monitoring in West Africa using EO data

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development Climate Resilience (EO4SD CR) cluster has released a new brochure describing its work supporting AGRYHMET, West Africa’s leading drought monitoring centre. The EO4SD CR cluster used Earth Observation (EO) data to support AGRYHMET’s work improving food security in West Africa, in partnership with the World Bank’s Africa Risk Management team.

Click here to download the brochure.

The brochure describes how the EO4SD CR cluster supported AGRYHMET’s project preparation by providing a range of EO datasets and services that inform drought assessments and wetlands monitoring. The data include climate indicators such as rainfall, soil moisture, and water availability.

By integrating this data in to AGRYHMET’s existing processes, EO data helped to enhance the assessments that AGRYHMET already do by increasing the accuracy and timeliness of drought monitoring and forecasts. In combination with socioeconomic data, AGRYHMET can build a better picture of food security, desertification control, and water control and management, helping to enhance climate resilience in the region by identifying focus areas for intervention.

The EO4SD CR cluster provides insight about the potential of Earth Observation (EO) data to support climate-resilient decision making at the regional and national scale. In collaboration with several International Financial Institutions, the EO4SD CR cluster has developed EO-based screening and risk management products that can be integrated into different platforms and project cycles.

Other summaries of EO4SD CR projects can be found here, as well as a webinar series outlining how different EO data products have been used and hands-on guided sessions on how to use the different data platforms.

Water Frequency map of water body – seasonal changes in surface extent. Source: GeoVille

This article was originally posted on the EO4SD website.
New brochure: Inundation Monitoring Service in the Philippines

New brochure: Inundation Monitoring Service in the Philippines

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development Climate Resilience (EO4SD CR) has released a new brochure providing an overview of its work with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) where EO data was provided to improve the flood risk management related to its projects in the Philippines.

The Philippines is regularly inundated by disasters, including flooding events. However, flood risk management in the country has been largely ineffective. To help ADB secure more detailed data on floods in the Philippines, the Cluster developed an Inundation Monitoring Service (IMS) for Jalaur River Basin that detects seasonal fluctuations in water bodies and monitors long-term changes. The maps provided by the IMS show the extent of flooded areas over time, helping the ADB build a more detailed understanding of the flood response needed in a particular area. This allows for better infrastructure investment in flood protection, and disaster response and early warning.

Click here to download the brochure.

In addition to the delivery of the IMS product, the Cluster provided a capacity building programme to support ADB staff in better understanding EO-derived data and services so that they can apply it to their own work. Capacity building activities include targeted support through practical training, and awareness raising and knowledge transfer through online courses and webinars.

The EO4SD CR cluster provides insight about the potential of Earth Observation (EO) data to support climate-resilient decision making at the regional and national scale. In collaboration with several International Financial Institutions, the EO4SD CR cluster has developed EO-based screening and risk management products that can be integrated into different platforms and project cycles.

Other summaries of EO4SD CR projects can be found here, as well as a webinar series outlining how different EO data products have been used and hands-on guided sessions on how to use the different data platforms.

The Jalaur River Basin is located on the Eastern side of the Philippine island of Panay.

This article was originally posted to the EO4SD website.
New brochure: Earth Observation data for the Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP)

New brochure: Earth Observation data for the Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP)

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development Climate Resilience (EO4SD CR) has released a new brochure providing an overview of its work with the World Bank in providing Earth Observation (EO) services to the Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP).

The CCKP is one of the most high-profile, publicly accessible, climate data platforms in the world. Developed to service the needs of expert and non-expert users, the CCKP provides global data on past climate and future climate change projections, as well as socio-economic data to support users in their climate-resilient decision-making. The brochure describes how the CCKP has been successful in serving as a hub for climate-related information, data, and tools to inform policy and practice, providing online access to comprehensive global, regional, and country data related to climate change and development.

Click here to download the brochure.

The EO4SD CR cluster worked with the World Bank during its most recent upgrade of the CCKP, identifying EO data that could be seamlessly integrated into the existing CCKP architecture so that it could be accessed instantly by users. Alongside the EO service provision, the Cluster delivers capacity building support to foster the sustained uptake of EO-based data and services by IFIs and Client States to support climate change resilience. For the World Bank, the capacity building will provide government officials and the World Bank’s Task Team Leaders with information on how to access and test EO-derived data, helping users to make sense of EO data and understanding how it can be useful for them.

he Cluster provided Essential Climate Variable (ECV) data in both map and time-series formats which allowed for images and time-series data to be easily integrated and overlaid. This data included air surface temperature, sea surface temperature, and sea level anomalies, amongst others. The ECI data can be displayed in a map format and allows for the selection of several data points compared through time series data. This helps to show levels of variation across different geographies and times.

The EO4SD CR cluster provides insight about the potential of Earth Observation (EO) data to support climate-resilient decision making at the regional and national scale. In collaboration with several International Financial Institutions, the EO4SD CR cluster has developed EO-based screening and risk management products that can be integrated into different platforms and project cycles.

Other summaries of EO4SD CR projects can be found here, as well as a webinar series outlining how different EO data products have been used and hands-on guided sessions on how to use the different data platforms.

Graphic representation of data provided to CCKP (surface air temperature aggregated over Mozambique) as displayed in the EO4SD climate platform. The surface air temperature is obtained from the ERA5 meteorological reanalysis provided by the Copernicus program.

This article was originally posted on the EO4SD CR website.
New brochure: Using Earth Observation to support African Risk Capacity’s work predicting drought stress and enhancing climate resilience

New brochure: Using Earth Observation to support African Risk Capacity’s work predicting drought stress and enhancing climate resilience

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development Climate Resilience (EO4SD CR) has released a new brochure providing an overview of its work supporting the African Risk Capacity’s (ARC). ARC has applied EO data to support its efforts to help African governments improve their capacities to plan for, prepare for, and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters.

Click here to download the brochure.

The brochure describes how the EO4SD CR cluster supported ARC’s Africa RiskView (ARV) tool, combining EO data and population vulnerability data to create an early-warning model that measures food insecurity as well as estimating response costs, helping decision-makers to make early and effective interventions. This included making a on-demand flood mapping service called Flood Mapper that uses EO data to enhance the pan-African Flood Extent Depiction (AFED) service.

The EO4SD CR cluster provides insight about the potential of Earth Observation (EO) data to support climate-resilient decision making at the regional and national scale. In collaboration with several International Financial Institutions, the EO4SD CR cluster has developed EO-based screening and risk management products that can be integrated into different platforms and project cycles.

Other summaries of EO4SD CR projects can be found here, as well as a webinar series outlining how different EO data products have been used and hands-on guided sessions on how to use the different data platforms.


This article was originally posted on the EO4SD CR website.
Image: Example of a flood plain near Lake Turkwel (Kenya). Flooded area (left) and the flooded area extracted from the permanent water extent (right). The flood extent mapping provides information on the total water covered area (binary water/ non-water map). By taking away the permanent water bodies from that water map, the areas that are temporarily flooded can be identified (hatched). This flood product also provides a direct comparison of the EO4SD Flood Map with the AFED Flood Map as well as statistical information on flooded landcover. Source: Geoville
INNOVATE4CLIMATE (I4C): Key Takeaways from “Earth Observation and the Future of Climate Resilience”

INNOVATE4CLIMATE (I4C): Key Takeaways from “Earth Observation and the Future of Climate Resilience”

Key takeaways:

  • Earth observation data are helping to transform climate resilience planning and implementation, creating new opportunities to help direct and maximise the impact of climate resilience investments.
  • To be successful, the right technical infrastructure and human capacities need to be in place, and stakeholders should be intimately involved in co-developing solutions.
  • Key challenges range from developing tailored products and services that are highly optimised to particular types of decision and improving the accessibility of socio-economic and land use data, to assuring quality and boosting information equity.

In late July, the Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) Climate Resilience cluster coordinated a panel discussion, hosted by Innovate4Climate, addressed to the question of earth observation (EO) and the future of climate resilience.

The panel convened five distinguished representatives from the provider and user sides, including the European Space Agency (ESA), the World Bank, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), African Risk Capacity (ARC), and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). Each organisation is at the cutting edge of either developing innovative EO-powered products and services or leveraging such services to boost climate resilience outcomes around the world.

The panel had three objectives. First, to take stock of the current ‘state-of-the-art’ regarding the use of EO-derived information in climate resilience applications. Second, to draw-out key gaps in provision of EO-driven services. Third, to unpack what progress in development of new EO services can feasibly be expected in the medium term and outline key demand-side requirements.

On a voyage from data to decisions 

Anna Burzykowska, Technical Officer at ESA, opened the panel with a summary of ESA’s ambitious climate programme, an element of one of the most ambitious earth observation programmes ever initiated, and which seeks to make consistent, high-quality climate data available global users as a public good. The Climate Change Initiative is the flagship of this programme, generating a broad portfolio of EO-driven Essential Climate Variables spanning the world.

Recognising that technical, human and other barriers can obstruct the actionable deployment of such data, today ESA’s ambition is evolving to address these barriers is ever more action-oriented, aiming to “bridge the gap between climate science and provide information that can be used by decision makers in their climate resilience strategies”. In the end, overlooking key entry points for EO data in particular decision scenarios and failing to develop climate information tailored to such decisions will lead to missed opportunities in being able to use EO data to improve climate resilience outcomes.

Creating decision-relevant information means collaboration

Identifying these applications and entry points is, however, challenging. Organisations such as the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) are invariably large and complex, with multiple teams, hundreds if not thousands of staff, and many more projects and beneficiaries. On the provider side, this requires becoming acquainted with the nature of evidence required to inform certain decisions, and on the user side it can mean learning about the potentialities of EO data and technologies, and being flexible and innovative in deploying these in real decision scenarios. In this vein, Anna Burzykowska articulated a recurring theme during the panel: the importance of collaborative working. As Anna noted, “We believe that climate action means different communities coming together, and that means building partnerships between actors that are not used to working together on a daily basis”.

The Panel heard how projects such as the EO4SD Climate Resilience programme seek to make climate resilience challenges more soluble by working directly with IFIs to mainstream EO climate information into projects and corporate tools. Achieving this requires a three-pronged approach: to raise demand-side awareness of what is possible using EO climate data; to co-develop bespoke technical solutions that leverage quality global data to meet climate resilience challenges at organisational and programmatic levels; to build demand-side capacity so that IFIs and their beneficiaries can derive maximum benefit from EO services throughout the project cycle.

An essential aspect of this is the quality of the data and services rendered. Samantha Burgess, of C3S, stressed the importance of rich, credible, and quality-assured data. In this regard, the C3S is able to leverage a rich array of earth observation, seasonal forecast, climate projection and other climate data to assist countries and companies “understand their risk envelopes and plan accordingly”.

Towards a global streamflow forecast: One aim, four challenges 

In a similar vein, Angelica Guttierez spoke to the example of a new global streamflow forecast service, developed by GEOGLOWS, that aims to transform climate data into actionable information, especially in areas where little or no such information exists. Realising this aim required overcoming four challenges. First, to leverage the considerable computing power and expertise needed to process big data and make it easily accessible online. Second, to improve access to web services to enable users to access data and easily create derived visualisations, such as flood maps. Third, to ensure adoption and stakeholder buy-in of the GEOGLOWS service by working collaboratively with multiple stakeholders to understand needs and co-develop solutions. And fourth, to assure users of the quality and reliability of the product as a resource that can inform decisions, through validation, bias correction, and incremental improvement.

EO data is indispensable and contributing to radical change climate resilience action 

Panellists touched on many of the benefits of EO-driven applications that have emerged through such collaboration. Ana Bucher noted how the World Bank has been working with ESA in this spirit collaboration since 2008 and translating EO data from satellites and bringing it to bear on the Bank’s global project portfolio. With its potential to scale insight and interventions, support better planning, and inform the prioritisation of climate risks and resilience actions, Ana was clear in its benefits: “How the value of earth observation can be brought into these daily actions is immense, in terms of economic returns, saving lives, but also in how it helps us commit to climate goals”.

These benefits are particularly strong in areas of the world where the World Bank has a large project portfolio, notably regions where climate data records can be sparse and of low quality. This was echoed by Francois Kayitakire, Director of Research and Development at ARC, an organisation that has for many years used EO-derived rainfall estimates for the African continent in models parametric insurance models for drought, and in future, flood, cyclones, and epidemics. “Without earth observation”, Francois explained, “it is impossible to offer the services we offer today”. These data – that have the essential attributed of being both highly predictable and reliable – have had concrete impacts on drought-affected areas, having triggered dispersals amounting to $60 million since 2015.

Ana Bucher further added that EO data have particular potential to observe and monitor the ‘silent risks’ that can be harder to track (e.g. drought), socio-economic change (e.g. settlement shifts), and the impacts of both climate change and climate resilience investments themselves. For the Bank, the bottom line is that EO spanning these areas another others can markedly improve the way IFIs structure and deliver their portfolio and support climate resilient development.

Where next? Information equality, pertinence, and confidence 

An important aspect of the GEOGLOWS mission is to improve equality of access to information; an ambition supported by other panellists also. As Angelica Guttierez noted, “If we want global issues to be addressed by the global community, then we need to level the playing field so every nation has the opportunity to access information”. Part of this means strengthening foundational technical infrastructure (e.g. internet connectivity) and human capacities to increase the ‘bandwidth’ to be able to derive maximum benefit from emerging cloud-based EO services.

On the data side, ARC is developing new services that leverage EO, such as the Extreme Climate Facility (ECF). The ECF a resilience financing instrument geared toward financing adaptation interventions over a 5 to 10 year horizon, requiring strong seasonal-to-decadal climate prediction data. Decision-relevant climate information also means attending to the specific climate sensitivities of different sectors. As data and understanding improve, demand for sector-tailored, threshold-based climate information will continue to increase on the user side.

Analysing climate risks and planning climate resilience requires EO data far beyond climate data itself. Panellists identified other types of EO data that would also markedly improve understanding of climate risk, particularly regarding the characteristics of exposed assets (e.g. urban areas and croplands). Linking such data with timely inundation maps would help to improve analysis of flood impacts, enabling relief funds to be better targeted in the short term, and resilience measures be better planned in the long-term.

Critically, such decision-useful information must also have the confidence of users. Even as EO providers already invest significantly in validation, quality assurance, and traceability, ESA has recognised that the consistency and visibility of quality assurance is an area that still needs to be addressed. As such, ESA has recently begun investigating users can be better informed about how products were developed (and the quality of those products). This, coupled with continuous improvements in tailored EO services, will help ensure that users are able to exploit EO services confidently and effectively to build climate resilience into the future.


This article was originally posted on the EO4SD website.

European Space Agency’s EO4SD climate cluster offers free webinar series on using Earth Observation to tackle climate change

European Space Agency’s EO4SD climate cluster offers free webinar series on using Earth Observation to tackle climate change

The European Space Agency’s Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) Climate Resilience Cluster is hosting a free webinar series to provide insight about the potential of Earth Observation (EO) to support climate-resilient decision making at the regional and national scale. The seven-part series is will be hosted every Thursday at 16:00 (CEST) starting 11th June 2020. The series is aimed at all those interested in developing a foundational knowledge of EO and how it can be applied practically in the context of climate-resilience projects and programmes.

Registration is now open. Sign up for one or more webinars in the series here. More information about the individual sessions can be found below.

Drawing on the EO4SD Climate Resilience Cluster’s extensive experience working with leading international finance institutions including the Asian Development Bank, The World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, Africa Risk Capacity and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the webinar series will provide ‘hands-on’ sessions and guided tutorials for existing climate resilience platforms.

Over the course of the series, participants will: understand the basics of EO data in the context of climate resilience, learn how, why and when to use EO data to inform decision making, learn about applying EO data to manage key climate risks including flooding and drought, and learn practical skills about accessing and using EO data tools and platforms.

Registration is free with registration closing the night prior to each webinar at midnight (12 a.m. CET).

Webinar 01: Setting the Scene: The climate resilience challenge and how ESA is responding – 11th June 2020/16:00 CEST.

The first webinar of this series will set the scene by summarising the European Space Agency’s current and planned activities in the climate domain, introduce the nature and scope of the ESA E04SD Climate Resilience Cluster, and provide an overview of the scientific and policy context to climate action.

To download and share the webinar invitation, click here.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 02: The how, when, and why of using EO data in Climate resilience decision-making Showcase 1: Agricultural livelihoods & water 18th June 2020/16:00 CEST.

As one of the most climate-dependent sectors, agriculture can be highly vulnerable to the impacts of slow-onset climate change and the increasing frequency of high-magnitude events. In economies highly dependent on agriculture, climate impacts can elevate risks of food insecurity, loss of livelihoods and export revenue, and heightened competition among water users (among others). All of these can elevate both social and macroeconomic instability that place constraints on prosperity and development. The second webinar of this series aims to introduce the use and benefits of EO-derived data and services in climate resilience decision making in climate resilience decision-making in the agriculture and water sectors.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 03 The how, when, and why of using EO data in Climate resilience decision-making Showcase 2: Urban resilience & environmental & natural resources – 25th June 2020 at 16:00 CEST.

Climate change is putting considerable stress on urban areas, driven by hazards such as increasing extreme heat, fluvial flooding and sea level rise. These hazards can increase risks to human health, property, and the performance of critical urban infrastructure. At the same time, the environmental services on which such areas depend are also being impacted. EO data can be used to bring high-resolution insight anywhere in the world to inform a range of decisions, from informing ‘climate-adaptive’ building design to helping to identify opportunities for climate resilient development and economic activities in coastal areas. The third webinar of this series aims to introduce the use and benefits of EO-derived data and services in climate resilience decision-making in the areas of urban resilience and environmental & natural resources.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 04 – Water world: How EO data is deepening our knowledge of flood risk and water resource management – 2nd July 2020/16:00 CEST.

Earth Observation (EO) data and services are vital tools for the water sector, supporting flood events, and conducting wetland inventory status in rural and urban areas. EO provides valuable information (Flood extent, historical flood events etc.) with the aim to assist authorities to prepare the most effective actions to manage flood risk and develop plans to tackle disasters. The fourth webinar of series will present in detail how Earth Observation data with different spatial and temporal resolution can contribute to flood risk, water and wetness management.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 05 – Is this drought normal? How EO data can help you understand drought hazard and benchmark your risk – 9th July/16:00 CEST.

Drought is one of the main natural causes of agricultural, economic, and environmental damage. The effects of drought on the environment and agriculture are evident after a long period with a shortage of precipitation, making it very difficult to determine the onset of drought, its extent and end. The EO time-series datasets can build understanding about the scale of effects associated with different drought impacts, helping to develop early food security assessments in specific geographic areas or contingency planning and emergency preparedness for future shocks in a country. It can also improve understanding of the drivers and causes of food insecurity in areas and identify which investments or risk management strategies are best. The fifth webinar of this series will present how Earth Observation data with different spatial and temporal resolution can provide information on drought events.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 06 – ‘How to’ Session: Using the EO4SD CR Platform to access EO data (hands-on) – 16th July 2020/16:00 CEST.

The EO4SD Climate Resilience cluster project has deployed a web based (EO4SD CR) platform to provide climate action programmes with enhanced climate risk management capabilities allowing users to explore the data and apply on demand analytics. This sixth webinar of this series will comprise of a hands-on session and a guided tutorial in which structured exercises will enable participants to familiarize, navigate and extract the information required in their assessments.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 07 – ‘How to” Session: Using Jupyter Notebook to access EO data (hands-on) – 23rd July 2020/ 16:00 CEST.

An extension of webinar 06, webinar 07 will be a hands-on session and guided tutorial for advanced users to explore how to use the EO4SD CR platform Jupyter Notebook, including structured exercises of how to access EO data, conduct analyses and extract data time series.

Register for the webinar here.

Background to EO and climate change resilience

EO has a considerable potential to inform and facilitate climate resilient development around the globe. ESA’s Climate Change Initiative provides stable, long-term, satellite-based “Essential Climate Variables” data products for climate modellers and researchers.

EO data facilitates effective climate change planning and response by providing timely and accurate data about the Earth’s atmosphere, landmasses, and oceans. This insight, combined with information about society, can paint a powerful picture about climate risks and resilience building opportunities, and help drive better decisions.

To download and share the overview of the webinar series, click here.

Phase two is underway for the EO4SD CR Cluster

Phase two is underway for the EO4SD CR Cluster

The EO4SD Climate Resilience (CR) Cluster has embarked upon phase two of their mission to help countries around the world increase their climate resilience by using EO data. In collaboration with several International Financial Institutions (IFIs), the cluster has developed EO-based integrated climate screening and risk management products and services to help manage climate-related risks and capitalise on the opportunities that climate resilience can create. The cluster is also working to build the capacity of IFI staff and IFI client states, allowing stakeholders to autonomously use EO-based information for climate resilience decision making.

Part one’s scoping phase, identified the potential areas for EO data to increase climate resilience and set about designing systems that would enable this to inform decision making. Phase two will see further refinement of the tools and training and capacity building for staff in using the information generated from the tools. For example, in the Philippines, the pilot project used satellite-based, highly automated, open water surface inundation tools to detect both seasonal fluctuation of water bodies and long-term changes. This Inundation Monitoring Service (IMS) maps the extent of flooded areas over time, which can help build a picture of the flood response of an area. As the pilot has worked so well, the EO4SD CR cluster will work with the ADB over the next 12 months to identify more sites where the IMS can be implemented.

The Cluster has also worked with the World Bank in a pilot phase to seamlessly integrate high-resolution, global observed datasets for three climate-related variables into the World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP), which is one of the most high-profile, publicly accessible, climate data platforms in the world. Data was chosen specifically to add depth to the portal’s observational data offer, enhancing the accessibility of reliable data whilst making sure to cater for different user skill levels. Phase two will develop new visualisations of the EO data accessible via the CCKP, and develop country-specific EO-based and climate projection data to inform sectoral risk assessment on the CCKP (including energy, water, agricultural, and health).

Data was also successfully integrated into the pre-existing platforms with International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), as well as Africa RiskView (ARV) in conjunction with African Risk Capacity (ARC). For ARV, the Cluster combined Earth Observation (EO) data with population vulnerability data to provide an early-warning model that measures food insecurity and estimates response costs, enabling decision-makers to plan and respond quickly and efficiently to drought stresses. In addition, access has been given to products available through the EO4SD Cluster’s own platform that can deliver precipitation, soil moisture, and sea surface temperature data which is being used to test the possibilities for integrating other products into the ARV. Based on this initial engagement and testing, the next steps are to further integrate EO data into the ARV tool, and refine the types of information it is able to provide. Similarly, the Cluster worked with International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to integrate EO data into its risk screening tool, upgrading their ability to assess the materiality of climate impacts, past and future. Phase two work includes integrating more EO data into their screening tool, with the timeline and resolution of data enabling a more detailed analysis.

The Cluster has also helped AGRHYMET’s ability to have a comprehensive view of climate risk as a function of hazard, exposure and vulnerability by identifying several products and services that can be provided in support of its work. Combining EO data, climate projection derived information and socioeconomic data, AGRHMET can improve its understanding of factors affecting Sahelian food security, desertification control, and water control and management. As a result, the wetlands monitoring service was chosen as a pilot and has been implemented in a region in Mali with a temporal range of 2017 to 2018. This pilot successfully demonstrated that the product could be applied in practice and usefully deliver relevant information. Over the course of the next 12 months the Cluster will further refine the prototype products and identify other projects for which they might be usefully applied. The Cluster will work with AGRHYMET to implement a service that provides full coverage of a pilot area, covering some 3,800 km2 of the Inner Niger Delta wetlands at a resolution of 20 km2. This service will enable monthly monitoring of surface wetness and water bodies integrating observed and projected rainfall data as well as a Water and Wetness Probability Index (WWPI), which will further enable comparing monthly means with observed measurements.

In Greater Monrovia, EO data will be used to analyse the exposure of critical infrastructure to coastal hazards. This includes generating analysis and projections of coastal shoreline change, rates of coastal erosion, and land subsidence. By combining this analysis with other EO data (for example, Modified Normalized Difference Water Index, Digital Terrain Models, and bathymetry data), climate projections, and socio-economic data, the cluster will also develop analysis on the population exposure to coastal flooding. The World Bank are also working with the Cluster in supporting the Monrovia Integrated Development Project (MIDP) by understanding the region’s urban growth, and how, in conjunction with the shoreline analysis, other socioeconomic factors might contribute to climate vulnerability. The next phase is to integrate more EO data to better identify risks and estimate projected coastal erosion, vital for informing resilient interventions by stakeholders.

Critical infrastructures and settlements likely to be flooded due to coastal flooding in West Point and Clara Town (Greater Monrovia, Liberia).

A vital part of phase two is to provide capacity building activities in order to increase the effectiveness of climate and disaster risk management. In order to do this, the Cluster will be helping partners by increasing the capacity of their staff to be able to provide better services and tools to local stakeholders (such as governmental bodies and other organisations with overlapping objectives). Capacity building activities will initially focus on the EO4SD CR platform, providing to staff training on how to access and test EO derived data. By showcasing examples of how EO derived information relates to daily operations, staff will understand how EO data can be used for assessment and awareness activities. These will be delivered via a series of introductory webinars and regional events, before curating dedicated webinars and ‘on demand’ webinars, acting as a helpdesk to the various stakeholders. For example, in the Philippines, specific capacity building options may include how EO services can feed into nature-based flood protection solutions by identifying suitable locations, and using real-time EO data to monitor rivers to strengthen early flood warning systems.


This article was originally published on the EO4SD CR website.
Cover image by USGS on Unsplash.
EO4SD climate cluster collaborates with World Bank applying EO support to Lake Victoria Basin projects

EO4SD climate cluster collaborates with World Bank applying EO support to Lake Victoria Basin projects

The Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) Climate Resilience Cluster has been working with International Financial Institutes (IFIs) to develop a satellite-based integrated climate screening and risk management service to build capacity in IFI client states and help them meet long-term climate resilient development planning goals. The Cluster is supporting future environment and natural resources management (ENRM) projects in partnership with the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) to develop an environmental management project for the Lake Victoria Basin. The LVBC coordinates the partner states of the East African Community in managing the Basin.

The Basin is Africa’s largest freshwater lake and is spread across 5 countries – Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda. The ENRM projects in the Great Lakes region aim to strengthen transboundary natural resource management by improving regional information services on water quality and ecosystem health, encouraging sustainable land and water resource management (SLWM) and building climate resilience in select hotspots in the Basin. These projects will increase the LVBC’s capacity to deliver on its mandate of coordinating the management of water quality in the Basin.

The Basin currently faces multiple environmental, economic and social challenges. Different hotspots in the Basin are under pressure from a combination of factors such as high population density, land use change, and water and land pollution due to inefficient waste management and treatment. These factors are contributing to the degradation of Lake Victoria.

The Lake has turbid waters with high chlorophyll concentrations turning them green. Excessive turbidity and chlorophyll concentrations indicate high mineral density in the water and poor water quality, a problem that is being exacerbated by climate change, which will increase the rate of environmental degradation in the Lake. Rising temperatures will accelerate the growth of floating macrophytes (aquatic plants), which will reduce the oxygen content of the lake. The conditions for disease vectors such as mosquitos are also likely to become more favourable and the increasing frequency and severity of floods and droughts will further drive erosion and increase sediment in runoff.

Water hyacinth in Winam Gulf (Lake Victoria). Floating water hyacinth areas are depicted in red. Obtained from satellite imagery: MODIS (250 m) on 22nd March 2019 (left) and Sentinel-2 (10 m) on 18th March 2019 (right). More explanations in this Youtube video.
The image shows us the trend in lake surface temperature in the Basin from 1991 to 2010. Displayed in the EO4SD CR platform

Hotspots under pressure

In the Nyabugogo catchment in Rwanda, one of the Lake Victoria’s hotspots, urban settlements within the catchment are already living with the consequences of environmental degradation due to the exploitation of natural resources for agricultural and industrial activities, severe pollution and significant changes in land use. The catchment is at high risk of fluvial and pluvial flooding, with surrounding farmland and villages being frequently inundated. The economy in the Basin area is entirely dependent on water and land resources for agriculture and industry. These effects will be exacerbated by changing climate patterns and climate related events, threatening the economic stability of the region.

Following a high-level climate risk analysis of the Nyabugogo catchment, the cluster identified several adaptation options along with relevant EO data layers. One of the options identified involves synthesis of multi-parameter remote sensing data to monitor and manage catchment changes, which will help monitor catchment health and identify and remedy incipient catchment hazards. This can be enabled by building the GIS and Remote Sensing (RS) capacity of LVBC to enable them to receive, store and synthesise up-to-date and quality remotely sensed spatial data and information on the Basin. Data may cover a broad spectrum of themes, such as lake levels, lake water quality, water hyacinth, land use/land cover changes and biodiversity trends.

Shoreline changes in the mouth of the Nyando River from 1984 to 2019. Its basin is one of the most degraded of all the river basins in the Kenyan portion of the Lake Victoria Basin. False colour is chosen to emphasize changes in vegetation. Plant-covered land is red. Water bodies are dark blue, while turbid water appears in shades of cyan compared to clear water.

Products developed by the cluster include the historic evolution of hyacinth and lake surface temperature, along with the evolution of lake shoreline erosion, for the Winam Gulf part of the Basin. This information can be used, for example, to identify the location and sources of pollution hotspots in industrial and agricultural areas. Following the development of these prototypes, the climate resilience cluster plans to extend the analysis to other hot spots of the Lake Victoria as part of a regular monitoring service, such as monthly changes in water hyacinth cover or lake shoreline erosion. Access to this level of data can improve the LVBC’s capacity to manage its resources across country boundaries and improve regulations to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the Basin to maintain its ecological integrity.

The datasets used for the Lake Victoria project, land surface temperature (LST) and water hyacinth detection (currently based on vegetation indexes) are global and can be provided for other parts of the world. The products developed for Lake Victoria Basin can also be applied to other areas, improving data availability for informed decision making and for mainstreaming climate resilience in development planning.


This article was originally published on the EO4SD Climate Resilience website.
Cover photo of Lake Victoria from Wikimedia Commons.
Earth observation data enhances top climate tools through collaboration with International Finance Institutions

Earth observation data enhances top climate tools through collaboration with International Finance Institutions

Some of the most well-known and established climate change data platforms and tools are being further enhanced by integrating Earth Observation (EO) data. Through an ongoing collaboration between several International Finance Institutions (IFIs) and the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation for Sustainable Development Climate Resilience (EO4SD CR) cluster, Earth Observation products are in process to be integrated into platforms including the World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal, the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Risk Tools, Africa Risk Capacity’s (ARC) Africa RiskView, and the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Hydro-BID system.

The EO4SD CR cluster has been working with IFIs over the past year, to demonstrate how EO services can be applied to help build climate resilience. The cluster’s work has focussed on applying EO services to existing IFI investment projects, including Asian Development Bank projectsin the Philippines and China, and World Bank projects in Liberia and Lake Victoria basin. Alongside these projects, the EO4SD CR cluster has also sought to add value to existing services and tools that IFIs use to help facilitate improved climate resilience decision making.

The World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal

One such initiative is the EO4SD CR cluster’s collaboration with the World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP); one of the world’s most high-profile, publicly available climate change data platforms. The WB’s CCKP provides global data on historical and future climate vulnerabilities and impacts. It is explorable through a web-based platform organised by ‘country’, ‘region’ and ‘watersheds’. The platform also includes socio-economic data to support climate resilient decision making.

Screenshot showing the map view of the CCKP organised by watershed. Source: World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal

Screenshot showing the map view of the CCKP organised by watershed. Source: World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge PortalThe EO4SD CR cluster developed functions that would allow EO products to be served to the platform seamlessly when demanded by users. From a user perspective there is no difference in the operation of the CCKP, which simply draws down the data and serves it to the user. This has enabled the WB’s CCKP to include climate data that was not previously available to its users including sea level anomaly data (1993-2015), 2-meter surface temperatures (1979-2018), and sea surface temperatures (1991-2018).

These EO-based Essential Climate Variables (ECV) are provided in both raster and time-series formats allowing for images and time-series data to be used and overlaid. As shown in the image below, the sea level anomaly data can be displayed as a map, and several data points can be selected and compared using time series data, showing clearly the levels of variation across different geographies.

Sea level anomaly time series data (1993-2015) for Madagascar, Monrovia (Liberia) and Venice (Italy).

With the 2m temperature data the EO service provides the full time series and can show temperature variability and averages, making it possible to compare different time periods against each other.

2m surface temperature for Mozambique with data from the years 2016 and 2018 compared against the 2010-2015 average.

Provision to other tools and services

As well as collaborating with the World Bank’s CCKP, the cluster is also providing EO data to climate resilience tools from other organisations, including:

  • 1-day maximum precipitation data for a 20-year return level to the IFC’s Risk Tool.
  • Soil moisture monitoring (1978-present), daily precipitation (2006-present) for Sub-Saharan Africa to ARC’s Africa Risk View tool.
  • Algal pigment concentration for Ypacarai Lake (Paraguay), Titicaca Lake (Bolivia/Peru), and Panama Bay (Panama) 1997-2018 and wetland and water inventory for Pantanal (Brazil) to be integrated into IDB’s Hydro-Bid tool.

Over the next year, the cluster will continue to explore how EO services can be further integrated into existing climate risk portals and platforms. The work done so far indicates that there is a lot of potential for deploying EO services for climate resilience and using existing products provides a good opportunity for putting EO data to work in the near term.


This article was originally published on the EO4SD Climate Resilience website.
Cover photo by Mohit Kumar on Unsplash.