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UN-SPIDER
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United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response
United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response

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The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs is pleased to announce the “United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction – Building Resilience Through Integrated Applications”. The Conference will take place in Beijing from 23 to 25 October 2017. For more details, please see the events page: www.un-spider.org/news-and-events/events/un-spider-7th-beijing-conference
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In November 2016, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) will install its Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS) at the International Space Station (ISS). The spectrometer will be used to monitor natural hazards such as fires, floods, and droughts through the scan of multiple bands of light. DESIS was developed in a partnership with La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.
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The Array for Real-time Geostrophic Oceanography (ARGO) is an international collaboration effort that has been established to collect temperature and salinity profiles data from the upper ocean to intermediate depths. The ocean data is collected using specially-built autonomous devices, drifting at sea. Since the year 2000, around 800 of these devices are installed each year. 
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Our read of the week:

Report: The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters 1995-2015

The recently launched report, “The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters 1995-2015” by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Belgian Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), identifies that during the last twenty years 90 per cent of major disasters have been caused by weather-related events such as floods, storms, heat waves, and droughts. Since 1995, the report indicates that there have been more than 600,000 deaths as a cause of weather-related disasters while 4.1 billion people have been injured, left homeless or in need of humanitarian aid. 
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The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, based in Pasadena, California is developing a new network of space-based sensors called FireSat in collaboration with the private company Quadra Pi R2E, which is based in San Francisco, California. The new sensors are designed to improve the detection of wildfires.  FireSat is expected to be launched by June 2018.
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On November 18, the China Earthquake Administration (CEA) and the National Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information Administration signed an agreement on data sharing in order to strengthen national capabilities in earthquake prevention and relief.
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In 2008, Landsat Earth observation images became available to all users free of charge. Since then, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) portal has provided roughly 30 million Landsat Earth observation images for users to download. Within the next years, downloads of satellite imagery are expected to increase further. 
 
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During a news conference in Geneva on 16 November 2015, the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Mr. Michel Jarraud, commented that the “Severe droughts and devastating flooding being experienced throughout the tropics and sub-tropical zones bear the hallmarks of this El Niño, which is the strongest for more than 15 years.” He further emphasized that “We are better prepared for this event than we have ever been in the past.”
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Our read of the week:

The relationship of El Niño and drought

The article "Vegetation Greening and Climate Change Promote Multidecadal Rises of Global Land Evapotranspiration" by Professor John Kimball of the University of Montana addresses widespread increases in plant growth and evaporation due to recent global climate trends. Kimball’s research team conducted a long-term global satellite record of land evapotranspiration, using remote sensing satellite data for the period of 1982 and 2013. Their findings showed that an increase of evapotranspiration from soil and plants is increasing the risk of droughts. This development can be further exaggerated during periodic drought cycles in times of El Niño events. 
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According to the September – October 2015 edition of the “Humanitarian Bulletin Latin America and Caribbean” which is published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 13.2 million people have been affected by disasters from January to October 2015 in Latin America and the Caribbean. This figure is considerably larger than the one reported by OCHA for this region in 2014 (11.4 million people).
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