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Networking Friday with Zita Martins (Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal)

On November 6th, 2020, 1-2 PM UTC, we will meet Zita Martins, Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST). She will talk about Astrobiology: Origin and detection of life in the solar system. Science magazine considered the search for life in the Universe as one of the twenty-five major questions still unanswered in science, and with prominence during the next decade. To answer this question, scientists i) investigate how life on Earth came about, and ii) develop space missions to search for extra-terrestrial life. In case i) they analyse meteorites in the laboratory and make in-situ analyses of comets and asteroids. This is because it is known that the Earth received tons of organic molecules, that were delivered by these celestial bodies, from the formation of the solar system up until 3.8 billion years ago. Their analysis gives fundamental clues about the primitive Earth and how life on our planet could have potentially appeared. In case ii) it is necessary to first determine places in the solar system that have the conditions for life to arise and develop. Among them we find the planet Mars, and the icy moons Europa and Enceladus. This presentation will discuss the origin of life in the solar system, and the various space missions in search of extra-terrestrial life.

Networking Friday Thematic Special Session on African Marine and Coastal Operational Services

On October 30th, 2020, 1-3 PM UTC, we will have a Thematic Special Session on African Marine and Coastal Operational Services: examples from around the continent. This Networking Friday session focuses on pan-continental African marine initiatives using EO data, technologies and services in support of African sustainable development. In the marine and coastal domains, the GMES-Africa initiative provides four consortia around the continent that are developing and implementing a variety of services, including the provision of oceanographic products, fisheries and aquaculture support, coastal ecosystem monitoring and maritime security. As a joint initiative between the African and European Unions, there is strong emphasis on realising value from the data, information, expertise and know-how offered by the Copernicus programme. The South African National Oceans and Coastal Information Management System will also be presented.

Networking Friday with Filomena Vaz Velho (INIPM, Angola)

On October 23rd, 2020, 1-2 PM UTC, we met Filomena Vaz Velho, National Institute for Fisheries and Marine Research (INIPM), Angola. She presented the LuandaWaterfront Project – Luanda Bay Ecological Assessment: A waterfront based approach to reduce environmental risks and increase quality of life. The moderator was Marcelo Rollnic, Professor at the Federal University of Para, Brazil. LuandaWaterfront is a scientific research and technological development project that includes Angolan and Portuguese institutions, namely, the National Institute for Fisheries and Marine Research (INIPM), the Faculty of Sciences of the Agostinho Neto University (FC-UAN), the University of Algarve (UALg) and the Center for Marine Sciences (CCMAR), which is the coordinator. The project is funded the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The objective is to assess the state of the Bay of Luanda (Angola), as well as to increase scientific knowledge of environmental risks, namely Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs), Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP), marine litter and other global climate change threats that impact on the well-being of local communities and the health of the ecosystem. The project also plans to establish co-management mechanisms for the Bay of Luanda, involving stakeholders and local communities, with the aim of recommending environmental mitigation strategies to improve its water quality and promote the sustainable development of the different services of this ecosystem. The principal investigator from Portugal is Alexandra Teodósio and, from Angola, Filomena Vaz Velho.

Networking Friday with Luiz Paulo Assad (LAMCE / COPPE-UFRJ)

On October 16th, 2020, 1-2 PM UTC, we had Luiz Paulo Assad, from LAMCE / COPPE-UFRJ, Brazil, who presented Environmental Numerical Modelling Developments and Initiatives: at the AIR Centre | Rio de Janeiro. The moderator was Ramiro Neves, IST, Portugal. Luiz Paulo Assad has a degree in Oceanography from the State University of Rio de Janeiro, a master’s degree in Physical Oceanography from the University of São Paulo and a doctorate in Civil Engineering from the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute of Graduate Studies and Engineering Research. He is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Meteorology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and also a permanent professor in the Graduate Program in Meteorology of that department. Researcher and technical coordinator of the Environmental Modeling Nucleus of the Laboratory of Computational Methods in Engineering (LAMCE/COPPE) that represents the Rio de Janeiro AIR Centre Office. He is also a collaborating professor in the Civil Engineering Program at COPPE. He has experience in the field of Physical Oceanography, with an emphasis on oceanic computational modelling, acting mainly on the following themes: global and regional oceanic computational modelling, ocean-atmosphere interaction processes, oil dispersion modelling at the sea and analysis of environmental data..

All-Atlantic Summit 2020

The All-Atlantic Summit will include the 6th High-Level Industry-Science-Government Dialogue on Atlantic Interactions (HLD) and technical sessions focusing on innovation to develop inclusive ocean economies in the Atlantic region. The event originally was to be held at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia but has transitioned to an online summit slated for Oct. 5-9. Registration is free and open to the public. The 6th HLD will be followed by four days of technical sessions under the theme “Innovation for Sustainable Marine Development and the Blue Economy.” The summit is hosted by Penn State’s Alliance for Education, Science, Engineering and Design with Africa (AESEDA) and co-organized by AIR Centre. The summit will bring together high-level representation from member nations of the AIR Centre, the international scientific research community and industry partners to discuss ideas, initiatives and projects around AIR Centre’s thematic missions as well as supporting cross-cutting activities such as capacity building, infrastructure sharing, and space and ocean literacy.

Networking Friday with Carlo Fezzi (University of Trento)

On October 9th, 2020, 1-2 PM UTC, we will have Carlo Fezzi, Associate Professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Trento (Italy) and Senior Lecturer at the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute, University of Exeter (United Kingdom). He will discuss the economic valuation for spatial targeting of coastal ecosystems’ conservation in the face of climate change. Preserving coastal ecosystems requires identifying priority areas for action. Economics can contribute to this process by developing methods to understand which locations provide the highest values for the society and which policy interventions are will deliver the highest benefits for the lowest cost. In this context, cultural services such as recreation deserve a prominent position, particularly in those areas with thriving tourism and leisure sectors. They are also crucial from a policy perspective, since their values can be at least partially captured via access fees or green taxes and, therefore, are extremely suitable for financing conservation and restoration programs in practice. This study shows how information on the number of visits to different outdoor recreation sites in a wide area can be used to develop a behavioral economic model providing welfare estimates that are directly applicable to inform a wide array of spatial planning questions related to coastal management. The empirical application is based on more than 150 different recreation sites located on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Carlo will present the changes in economic values from different scenarios including creation of marine protected areas and climate change impacts.

Networking Friday with Martin Visbeck (GEOMAR)

On October 2nd, 2020, 1-2 PM UTC, Martin Visbeck, Professor for Physical Oceanography at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and Kiel University, discussed the Future Ocean Sustainability – From Ocean Observation towards Sustainable Development. The session will be moderated by Isabel Sousa Pinto, Professor at the University of Porto and Head of the Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation group at Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR). Martin introduced two elements of the value chain more specifically: First the All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System (AtlantOS), a community-based program to support the implementation of an integrated basin-scale observing system ‘that benefits all of us living, working and relying on the ocean’. AtlantOS is working to support the ocean community to enhance and sustain basin-scale ocean observing in the Atlantic as a contribution to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and similar programs and promotes the GEO Blue Planet Initiative. How can we transform current ocean observing from a niche action to the societal norm. Martin also introduced the concept of a Digital Twin of the Ocean as the next step in the value chain, filling the need to integrate a wide range of data and information sources (from physics to ecology through biology, chemistry and geology, as well as from social or economic sciences and business operators), to transform data into knowledge and to connect, engage, and empower citizens, governments and industries by providing them with the capacity to inform their decisions with the goal to arrive at a more sustainable ocean governing system. Neither AtlantOS nor the Digital Twin Ocean can succeed without full engagement of the ocean community including the Global North and Global South, actors from academia, business, civil society, indigenous and communities of practice. The upcoming UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to advance such agendas in the Atlantic and around the globe.

Networking Friday Special Session on Space Capacity Building

On September 25, 1-3 PM UTC, we held a Thematic Special Session on Space Capacity Building with Stefano Ferretti (ESA), Shubha Sathyendranath (Plymouth Marine Laboratory), and Antonio Martelo (DLR). The session focused on Space Capacity Building to empower the international community towards fully accessing all the economic and societal benefits that space assets and data can offer. New innovation models are increasingly spreading across various sectors and disciplines, including space, which is becoming an integral part of many societal activities (e.g. telecoms, weather, climate change and environmental monitoring, civil protection, infrastructures, transportation and navigation, healthcare and education). The session helped participants to construct their own space capacity building roadmaps, which take into account key stakeholders and also new private actors, NGOs and civil society. Starting from a policy and strategy perspective, the session addressed key aspects of capacity building, including innovation and exploration, global health, climate change and resilient societies. It outlined the available options and summarized the ideal programmatic conditions for their successful implementation. Showcasing reflections from a range of senior space professionals around the world, with their unique perspectives and solutions, the session provided a rich mosaic in which various cultural and policy approaches to space are translated into actionable programs and ideas so that space may truly benefit all of humankind.

Networking Friday with Gordon Campbell (ESA)

On September 4th, 2020, 1-2 PM UTC, we met Gordon Campbell, Science, Head of Enterprise Section, EO Data Applications Division, EO Science, Applications and Climate Department, European Space Agency (ESA). The moderator was Piero Messina (ESA). Gordon Campbell has been working for ESA since 1999 on defining and implementing actions to expand the uptake and use of Satellite Earth Observation data. This involved working on a range of public sector domains including environment, natural resources, law enforcement/ security and transport. He is also working to expand the use of satellite derived information in the International Development context in partnership with entities such as World Bank, Global Environment Facility and Inter-American Development Bank. Examples include management of natural resources (eg fisheries surveillance, management of mining activities) and putting in place more efficient sustainable development approaches (eg planning and monitoring impacts of development projects on critical habitats and ecosystems).

Networking Friday with Argyro Kavvada (NASA)

On September 18th, 2020, 1-2 PM UTC, Argyro Kavvada reviewed innovative Earth observation solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals. Her presentation illustrated innovative endeavors that aim to integrate Earth observation data, tools and model outputs to support countries in target setting, tracking progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, and informing sustainable development planning and decision making. She serves a dual role as Manager of the Earth Sciences Division’s Sustainable Development Goals Activities to extend uses of Earth science and applications in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), while also leading Booz Allen Hamilton’s project on studies, assessments, and strategic management for the Applied Sciences Program in NASA’s Earth Science Division. She serves as the Executive Secretary for the international Earth Observations for Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG) initiative that NASA co-leads, and the NASA representative to the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites SDG Working Group. In this role, she has built a network of thought leaders and collaborators in the Earth observation and international development landscape.