Second Remote Sensing Summer School a Success

Sitting from left: Professor Elisabeth Holland, (VCP) Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Dr.Bruce C. Monger, (UNDP Representative) Salma Elhagyousif Photo: PaCE-SD / Christopher Ward

An intensive two-week summer school on utilizing ocean satellite data to understand life in our oceans was offered by the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) at The University of the South Pacific (USP). Seventeen participants, who had modest or no prior experience with satellite remote sensing techniques, registered for the second offering of the remote sensing summer school. The first summer school was successful offered in January 2017.

The objective of the remote sensing summer school was to teach participants the basic skills needed to work independently to acquire, analyze and visualize data sets derived from a variety of satellite sensors (e.g., ocean color, sea surface temperature, sea level, and winds). Strong emphasis was given to ocean color remote sensing and to the use of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) SeaDAS software. The important feature of the summer school was to develop good Python programming skills that is needed to effectively make use of satellite image data to answer important oceanographic questions.

The remote sensing summer school was facilitated by renowned oceanographer Dr. Bruce Monger from Cornell University. Dr Monger’s extensive research, performed through the use of satellite remote sensing methods to study environmental controls of oceans, is utilized in his world-renowned training program for ocean remote sensing. Dr. Phil Bresnahan from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and Dr. Cecile Dupouy and Dr. Madeleine Goutz, both from the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography, were also involved in the summer school and the three of them also presented interesting seminars on their research work at the PaCE-SD Seminar Series, which has been a regular feature at USP since 2013.

The USP Vice Chancellor and President Prof. Pal Ahluwalai was the chef guest at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the remote sensing summer school. He acknowledged Dr. Bruce Monger and the PaCE-SD Director Prof. Elisabeth Holland on the work that was put into organizing an important course with reference to Tropical Cyclone Mona and the important role it plays when it comes to reporting accurate data. Prof. Pal went on to say “… what a special place PaCE-SD is and the respect that Prof. Holland has in the international climate change community let alone the work she does in development generally. This is a very special place from USP prospective.” Prof. Pal, Mr. Jean Louis Roth, the Deputy Head of Mission at the French Embassy in Fiji and Ms. Loata Vakacegu, the Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services went on to present the certificates of completion to the 17 participants from around the region.

The Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development also acknowledges the partnership of the Alliance Françoise in Fiji, the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), and the School of Geography Earth Science and Environment at USP through the two-weeks remote sensing summer school.

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