Your Favorite EO Podcast: Now with a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Focus
If you are in any way related to the Earth observation (EO) industry, chances are you have already heard about the popular Scene From Above (SFA, @eoscenefrom) podcast. Now for Season 13, we are delighted to announce an upgrade, if you will. Folks, we present to you SFA 2.0, now organised, recorded, and edited by your beloved Ladies of Landsat and Sisters of SAR. The new SFA is buit with a diversity, equity, and inclusion twist! You will now hear voices previously unheard and learn about the brilliant work being done by leading female EO Scientists!
With over 30K listens, the SFA podcast originally hosted by Alastair (@ajggeoger) and Andrew (@map_andrew) was more or less heard by everyone in the industry. If you wanted the latest scoop on the cool things in the world of EO, SFA was the place to get it. Due to their full-time jobs, Andrew and Alastair have finally decided to move on after 12 whole seasons of SFA. We are immensely grateful for their guidance for producing the podcast this season and their kind handover of their brainchild. 🙂
The Fabulous Ladies of Landsat
Ladies of Landsat (LoL) is a Twitter-based organisation founded in 2018, led by women in Landsat. LoL hopes to increase inclusivity in the field of remote sensing and EO, having buit a community of over 11K followers on Twitter and over 1K on LinkedIn! LoL does a hugely popular weekly Twitter series in addition to highlighting female-led research in remote sensing through #LoLManuscriptMondays. They also organise in-person and virtual networking events, conference symposiums, and more. LoL members tend to be application scientists making a difference using EO as their primary tool.
Sparked by a popular catchphrase to empower women at heavily male-dominated EO conferences, the Ladies of Landsat were born as Dr. Kate Fickas (@katefickas) and Dr. Meghan Halabisky (@mhalabisky1) cheered each other on, as the only women in attendance at an international conference. They were joined soon after by the fabulous Dr. Morgan Crowley (@morganahcrowley) and Dr. Flavia De Souza Mendes (@flasmendes), LoL slowly transformed into the organisation that today supports thousands of women in EO. Through direct connections, promoting successes, communicating their cutting-edge science, or tackling tough subjects such as DEI in the field, LoL has been a game-changer for many women in EO.
The Sensational Sisters of SAR
Inspired by the huge success of LoL and a similar lack of support in the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) community, we launched Sisters of SAR (SoS, @SistersOfSAR) on Twitter in 2020 and LinkedIn in 2022. Born through a conversation with Morgan of LoL, this idea of creating an inclusive SAR community came to Dr. Laura Dingle Robertson (@LDR1) and Sarah Banks (@SAR_ahBanks). Soone after Dr. Gopika Suresh (@Go__Pika) joined hands with them, and I, Dr. Antara Dasgupta (@ant_dasgupta) joined more recently. Led by a kick-ass team of multi-disciplinary scientists, we at SoS are working on increasing visibility of SAR and the women in SAR.
We as SoS host a highly in-demand weekly series on Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as a website where we maintain a list of #SAR_Stars. We promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for women across various career stages involved with SAR in any way as part of our weekly SAR Star series. Everyone from radar engineers to SAR application scientists, are equally welcome and lovingly supported by the SoS. We also organise networking events and host inclusive panels where the voices of women can (finally) be heard. The SoS dream is to make SAR accessible to everyone who wants to use it. Regardless of gender, career stage, access to resources, or geographical location, we welcome everyone! We are constantly working to ensure that the voices of women in SAR no longer go unheard or unnoticed!
Revamping the SFA Podcast
We all have full-time jobs, most of us have kids, and academic lives which require multiple unpaid additional responsibilities. Additionally, we have now also ventured into the podcast space. Indeed, when we decided to take this on, we asked ourselves, if we were awesome or just plain stupid! Honestly, the answer is maybe we are a bit of both. The truth is, though, that we must embody the change we expect to see in our world. You may say that we are dreamers, but as John Lennon said, we are not the only ones (thank god for that!). Our passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion in EO motivates us to persevere.
We would like to emphasise that we are not taking this on to kill our spare time. Moreover, this is a huge responsibility! Especially after SFA being a one stop shop for all things EO for so long, we are not taking this lightly! However, we know what our organisations mean to women in our field all over the world. Thus, despite everything already being crazy, we jumped at this opportunity to give them another avenue to get their motivation.
As you will learn through the episode, the problems faced by underrepresented scientists are specific, unique, unbelievable, and often heartbreaking. We hope that our efforts will help bring the silent struggles of our underrepresented colleagues and friends to the fore. It is only through understanding and acceptance, that we can support each other better and change things. Season 13 of Scene From Above (SFA) is our effort to shed some light on these hard issues.
Presenting the EO Scene from Above 2.0!
In this season, we worked hard to incorporate diversity in geography, sensors, application area, gender, and orientation. We aim to bring these often unheard voices to the forefront of the EO industry. We hope that our efforts will soon help eliminate all male and all white expert panels at conferences and events. While this is mostly out of convenience, this tells us that women cannot be experts. Let’s change that together, shall we?
There are NO excuses for leaving women behind anymore. Our own efforts and the lists we maintain of female EO experts debunk the “they don’t exist” argument. Our own version of SFA will now further highlight the wonderful work that women are already doing in our field. Hopefully this will invite more people to recognise the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion at our workplaces and in the EO industry.
So give it a listen, support us to support others, and give us feedback so that we can grow!
Top satellite-based observations of fall 2022
Top satellite-based observations of September and October 2022
Here’s a summary of our highlighted satellite observations from the last two months. Observations are based on Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites’ acquisitions. Although the autumn was not as varied by sudden atmospheric changes as the summer, it is still full of many astonishing observations. Starting with September 25th we celebrated World Rivers Day. Rivers provide us with drinking water, irrigation, transportation, and much more. We should take this opportunity to discuss and focus on possible threats and dangers, such as pollution or the long-term effects of increasingly frequent droughts. Below we can see the Mississippi River – the second-longest river in the United States. It’s flowing through ten states and is the birthplace of water skiing.
The continuation of wildfires in Autumn
With the start of the fall on September 23rd, one could expect cooler temperatures, and thus also a leveling off of occurring wildfires. Unfortunately, Autumn 2022 still hit us with devastating wildfires, including a huge one in Zhetikara District in Kazahstan and the “Cedar Creek Fire” just 15 miles east of Oakridge in Oregon. The fire was estimated to be more than 92 thousand acres. Additional fires spotted this fall so far include:
- Tecate area in Mexico
- Canto do Buriti in the state of Piauí in Brazil
- Namibia near Gam in Otjozondjupa Region
- Laguna Mar Chiquita in Rivadavia Department in Argentina
Other effects of the climate change
As far as the effects of climate change are concerned, this time we focused mostly on what was going on near the poles. We can observe melting glaciers, a strong indication of the change that is happening to our planet’s climate. Rapid glacial melts in Antarctica and Greenland are influencing ocean currents, as well as rising sea levels. Over here we have some examples of visible changes in a span of just a few years. First, we have Freemanbreen glacier, which is one of the primary southern outlet glaciers in Svalbard. In the summer of 2022, the glacier experienced likely the most extensive melt in the region in at least the last 50 years (check out summer observations 2022). Another detectable effect of global warming is the melting of the Twitcher Glacier in Antarctica, in just six years. Rapid movement of glacier parts can be observed also in the central part of Antarctica. The latest changes in the Brunt Ice Shelf are signalling that it will probably break off and create an iceberg soon.
However recent changes are not exclusively connected to the poles. The beginning of Autumn was filled with hurricanes and typhoons. One of the most talked about hurricanes was hurricane Ian, which had devastating consequences for the state of Florida. In the presented animation mixed pollutants and waste products along with silt, are visible on the coastline.
Even though volcanic activity isn’t directly related to seasonal changes, statistically volcanos are 18% more likely to erupt during the winter months than at any other time of year (season for volcanic eruptions). However, we can observe most volcanic eruptions no matter the time of the year. A great example of this would be the latest changes in the Nishinoshima volcano – with a certain decrease in activity compared to the latest weeks.
Satellite imagery enables us to follow situations and events happening all over the world. On September 17 there was an opening ceremony for the Vistula Spit Canal in Poland, which allows bypassing of the Russian Strait of Baltyisk. Below we can see the construction of the Canal which started in February 2019. Moving to more eastern territories through satellite observations we can also monitor real-time events in Crimea. The image below shows Kerch Bridge in Crimea, before the massive explosion resulting in great damage.