(Seated from L-R): Professor Elisabeth Holland, PaCE-SD Director, Honourable Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Dr Bruce Monger, course facilitator, and USP Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr Giulio Paunga with participants of the Remote Sensing Course.
The University of the South Pacific (USP), through its Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) is conducting a free two-week Satellite Remote Sensing Training Course at the University’s Laucala Campus from 9 to 20 January 2017.
The course is facilitated by renowned oceanographer Dr Bruce Monger, who is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University and serves as a member of National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Ocean Biology and Biochemistry Science.
The goal of the course is to teach participants the basic skills needed to work independently to acquire; analyse; and visualise data sets derived from a variety of satellite sensors, for instance, ocean colour, sea surface temperature, wind and altimetry.
An important feature of the course is to develop good Python Programming skills that are needed to effectively make use of satellite image data to answer important oceanographic questions.
While opening the training course on 9 January, Fijian Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Honourable Inia Seruiratu said that clear understanding, mapping and quantification of ocean properties are needed to support maritime navigation and safety, disaster planning for tsunamis, flooding and tropical cyclones, implementation of climate adaptation plans to ensure vibrant and sustainable futures.
Honourable Seruiratu highlighted that Fiji needs the tools and data to better guarantee coral reef and ocean health to protect against the stress of climate change and ocean acidification.
He added that forecasting weather, tropical cyclones, and tropical depressions require clear maps of wind speed, wind direction, cloud cover and rainfall which are all important variables that can be mastered with the remote sensing tools provided in this training.
“With the tools you will learn here, we, Fiji and the Pacific, gain the keys to the doors of knowledge and vast stores of satellite data worth billions of dollars,” Honourable Seruiratu said.
PaCE-SD Director, Professor Elisabeth Holland welcomed everyone to the workshop and wished the participants well for the two-week training.
Professor Holland said that mastering these tools will allow us to see our Pacific ocean through new lenses with our own eyes.
“Every citizen of the planet can access the data if they have a computer, the skill and sufficient internet bandwidth. Let’s use NASA’s satellite data to understand how our piece of planet is changing,” Professor Holland said.
According to PaCE-SD, such courses would normally cost around FJD 25,000 for someone from the Pacific region to be able to undertake the course offered in the United States.
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