Earth Day 2022 – Observed from Space
It’s Time to Invest in our Pale Blue Dot
For those fortunate enough to travel to space and look down on Earth, they often return home with a change in perspective that has been coined the “Overview Effect.” Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell once said, “Something happens to you out there. You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.” Those of us who work in the business of space understand that while we reach for the stars, we also need to protect the precious pale blue dot we call home.
Here at Spire we collect and analyze satellite data to help make our world a safer, cleaner, more prosperous, and more equitable place. As the impacts of climate change continue to persist, space-based data is a valuable resource to pinpoint when and where human-caused emissions happen, and what sources are driving them. With recent advances in AI/ML and greater availability of remote sensing data from satellites, it is now possible to harness these technological advances to provide actionable climate data to stakeholders and usher in a new era of monitoring that provides timely and actionable data.
Here are a few ways Spire’s satellite data is used to take action and #InvestInOurPlanet:
Predicting Wildfires and Protecting Firefighters
Spire’s weather data supports critical wildfire management from long-term planning to immediate tactical responses. With weather data and forecast models, firefighting can begin before flames turn into runaway forest fires. Our customer Quiron Digital is showing success at wildfire prediction using weather data collected by Spire’s constellation of 100+ satellites. Historical weather data helped train Quiron’s wildfire models and Spire’s forecasts feed the ongoing predictions, leading to a 30% increase in accuracy of fire risk zoning.
As the threat grows with climate change, solutions that help protect firefighters and communities are more critical than ever – especially tools that help stop fires before they turn into life-threatening events.
Monitoring Our Oceans For Illegal Fishing
Today, nearly three million fishing vessels operate across the seas, with 60,000 commercial vessels broadcasting communication signals known as Automatic Identification Signals (AIS). Tracking this fleet outside the range of terrestrial receivers is spotty and infrequent. Our customer, Global Fishing Watch is applying advanced data analytics and machine learning capabilities to Spire’s AIS tracking data to promote ocean sustainability and expose illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Data increases transparency of human activity at sea to promote fair and sustainable use of our ocean. Spire’s satellites provide continuous monitoring of vessels across the globe, illuminating activity in the most remote points of the ocean. With this level of insight, operators and regulators can enhance their actions with data-based decisions that support food security and human health.
Sea Ice Seen from Space
Declining levels of sea ice are an unmistakable sign of climate change’s impact on our planet. Record low levels of sea ice are leading to warming temperatures which affect sea level rise, ocean circulation, and weather patterns. As climate related opportunities and challenges arise in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, abundant and accurate insights on sea ice, sea surface temperatures, and weather patterns are critical.
Over 65% of Spire’s satellites are in polar orbit, meaning they have high revisit rates in the polar region and provide more accurate weather and climate insights. With data observations including sea ice age, extent and height, and weather forecasts for temperature, wind and other ocean variables, Spire is able to greatly enhance Arctic and Antarctic weather forecasts.
Every day is Earth Day
Earth Day is a celebration of the bold, creative and innovative solutions we have developed to protect our planet. We must take the momentum from today to #InvestInOurPlanet each and every day. Here at Spire we are already doing this.
Our constellation of 100+ satellites collect trillions of data points about our planet 365 days a year. It’s about leaving our home planet better than how we found it and turning data into knowledge to solve some of humanity’s toughest challenges. Today, with the help of our global team, we are making this vision a reality by providing valuable knowledge and insights about Earth from the ultimate vantage point – space.