Participants in the CEOS SIT Technical Workshop (ESA ESRIN, Sep. 2022)
The CEOS SIT Chair Dr Simonetta Cheli and her team had the pleasure to welcome 60 representatives from various CEOS agencies that travelled to ESA ESRIN (Frascati, Italy) to participate in the 2022 CEOS SIT Technical Workshop (13-15 September 2022) while about 50 other CEOS colleagues joined the workshop remotely. This technical & scientific meeting helps preparing the more strategic CEOS Plenary. This event was the first major CEOS meeting held in person since the beginning of the Covid pandemic in 2020. Many participants highlighted the huge difference between virtual meetings and those held in person: more efficient debates, more productive outcomes, illustrated by the few examples given in this article.
Many decisions have been taken during the workshop and several actions have been raised. Following a warm welcome of the participants by the SIT Chair, the workshop started with the review of the main themes of the CEOS Chair (CNES): Ensuring the long-term sustainability of CEOS; CEOS Support to the UNFCCC Global Stocktake; and Support to CEOS Cal-Val initiatives.
During the Climate & Carbon session – a key element of the CEOS strategy – an update on the “CEOS Strategy for the Global Stocktake” was provided, along with preparations for SBSTA and COP-27 (6-8 November 2022). Detailed discussions were held in relation to the GHG Roadmap (Greenhouse Gases), AFOLU Roadmap (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use), and International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO). The SIT Chair team invited Luis Guanter (Environmental Defense Fund) to present the Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) – a key element of IMEO, on behalf of the IMEO-MARS team at UNEP and EDF. It is worth nothing that IMEO will headline an EO-based methane detection system at COP-27 and that there is a significant opportunity for CEOS agency data and capabilities to feature.
As a follow-up to the CEOS SIT-37 New Space session, another session on the same topic raised a lot of interest among the participants. A few CEOS Agencies (USGS, ESA, GISTDA, NASA, CSA) presented their case studies with the objective of sharing experience. In addition, two CEOS groups (e.g. ARD Oversight Group, and WGCV) introduced ideas related to Analysis Ready Data and to smallsat data quality that should enable the development of a series of innovative tools and services that rely on the combination of data from multiple data sources such as public satellites and commercial smallsats. Given the growing interest of space agencies and CEOS for the EO New Space sector, the formation of a Task Team to further develop the ‘New Space’ topic was agreed.
Besides, an action on further coordination of CEOS engagement with standards organisations was agreed. The goal is for CEOS agencies to collaborate closely with commercial companies on the interoperability standards in order to ease and foster the partnership between public agencies and the New Space sector. A specific action around the engagement with the OGC ARD Standards Working Group was also agreed as well as another action to flesh out the concept of a CEOS Interoperability Framework for discussion at Plenary.
Following the special report on Ocean Carbon by the OCR-VC team (Ocean Colour Radiometry), it appeared that a roadmap for observations might take a few years to complete.
Recognising the potential added value of remote sensing to biodiversity, the speakers of the session dedicated to biodiversity recommended the identification of key milestones for the coming years and agreed to define the Terms of Reference for an Ecosystems Extent Task Team, for presentation and endorsement at the 2022 CEOS Plenary.
Another highlight of the workshop was the presentation by the AC-VC of the draft white paper on the Monitoring of the Surface Fine particulate matter (PM2.5), an air pollutant that is a major threat to human health worldwide. This paper will be presented to Plenary for endorsement.
Significant progress on CEOS Deliverables for the Sustainable Development Goals have been reported for 2022, and the CEOS SDG team presented their plans for 2023 Deliverables for discussion.
Workshop participants recommended that the CEOS-COAST Ad Hoc Team should seek a one-year extension at CEOS Plenary, and that the CEOS Ocean Coordination Group should make recommendations to the CEOS Plenary on coordination of CEOS activities related to oceans.
Finally, the Incoming CEOS Chair (GISTDA, Thailand) presented his main priorities for 2023: the support to the Global Stocktake, and the partnership between space agencies and the New Space sector.
CEOS SIT Chair Team