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GEO Contributes to UN Resolution on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters

Global mercury monitoring supports Minamata Convention

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The Global Observation System for Mercury (GOS4M), a GEO Flagship, provides monitoring data and modelling tools to support the implementation of the Minamata Convention (MC) on Mercury.

GOS4M aims to support the MC Secretariat, the UN Environment and all nations in the follow up of decisions related to the Effectiveness Evaluation and Global Monitoring framework. GOS4M aims to work closely with actions in providing assistance and promote capacity building for filling existing geographical gaps in the global monitoring. It is now exploring a formal agreement between the GEO and Minamata Convention Secretariats to formalize GOS4M’s support for the future activities of the Convention.

During 2019, GOS4M has developed a conceptual Mercury Policy Knowledge Hub. The Hub includes a variety of tools for pre- and post-processing of observational data and modelling outputs. The Hub is designed to assist policy makers to assess the fate and transportation of mercury from emission sources to terrestrial and aquatic receptors, and to evaluate the relative contributions of different natural and anthropogenic sources on total mercury entering terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The Hub is in testing the possible link between past trends in atmospheric deposition fluxes with mercury concentrations found in top predators e.g. fish, marine mammals and birds. The Mercury Policy Knowledge Hub is expected to launch at the end of 2019.

GOS4M governance will be set by early 2020 as soon as the partnership will be completed. GOS4M builds on existing networks and observing infrastructures – currently it provides a link to the Global Mercury Observation System (GMOS), and includes existing regional networks, such as Atmospheric Mercury Network (AMNet), the National Atmospheric Deposition Programme (MDN), the Asia-Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network and other national sites.

"The mirror part of the GEOSS Platform, provides functionalities that enhance better use of EO data, foster data sharing and provide strong support to the implementation of Minamata Convention on Mercury."

 Sergio Cinnirella, representing the GEO Flagship GOS4M at the 11th Symposium on Digital Earth. 


Image by Paulo Simões Mendes
Image by Paulo Simões Mendes

Despite decades old efforts to strengthen public health programmes for Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) in Brazil, reduction in its incidence and geographical dispersion has not yet been successful. VL is in fact expanding its range to newly urbanized areas.

A geospatial surveillance system was tested using remote sensing data from Earth-observing satellites, geographic information systems and ecological niche modelling to characterize the environmental suitability and potential for spread of VL, a neglected tropical disease transmitted by the sand fly in Brazil.

VL risk models were constructed for Bahia state in Northeast Brazil. Additionally, Sao Paulo state in Southeast Brazil revealed similar patterns in VL and vector risk maps generated by Woridclim2 data and models generated using bi-monthly soil moisture data. Results suggest direct measurement of soil moisture by (Soil Moisture Active Passive ) SMAP data may be used in lieu of soil moisture values calculated from classic climate station data.

To promote these findings, SMAP L4 imagery was acquired covering the western hemisphere for year 2017 and incorporated in a GeoHealth data portal. A tutorial was prepared for online data access and analysis using ArcGIS and Maxent software. Open source satellite data, analysis and models from the GEO community helped to mitigate the high cost of collecting near-real-time data and information that would be a major barrier to progress on vector borne disease control in Brazil and other at-risk countries.

This project supports NASA and GEO initiatives. By providing coordinated Earth observations from satellites and integrating them with ground-based and other in situ measurements, GeoHealth contributes to generation of reliable, accurate, timely and sustained vector borne disease monitoring information and forecasts for public health decision makers. 

It also is contributing to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal SDG3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages by providing better information for decisions on control of visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil.

Geohealth produces a geospatial surveillance and response system for vector borne disease in the Americas


Produces a geospatial

surveillance & response system for vector borne disease in the Americas

Prediction of cholera using Earth observations

Prediction of cholera using Earth observations

Cholera is not a new disease, but the control and preparation for cholera using satellite data is unique. A new project using open satellite data is providing knowledge on global coverage of cholera risks, including knowledge of when and where this disease will strike.

Led by NASA’s Applied Sciences Programme, Veolia Foundation, Health Initiatives Foundation and team of advisors from NASA and NOAA, the project supports GEO Work Programme Public Health activities and capacity development in the AfriGEO region for transition, integration and sustained use of our algorithms for prediction of cholera. 

Most systematic research on the ecology of cholera over the past several decades has focused on and derived from data collected in the Bengal Delta region of the world. However, analysis of the World Health Organization (WHO) cholera database indicates that Africa is seeing a rise in cholera. Cholera cases have been reported in nearly every country of the African continent. In fact, from 1995 to 2005, 66% of those outbreaks were reported in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011, 86% of the total reported cholera cases and 99% of the deaths from this disease were reported in Africa.

Satellite data from Global Precipitation Measures (GPM), Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) , and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) was a joint space mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was used to develop a cholera model which is capable to provide risk estimates for growth of bacteria in the environment by at least four weeks in advance.


This information will be provided to “Cholera Ready Nations” where satellite based prediction (of risk of trigger and likelihood of transmission of cholera in the human population) provides sustainable and resilient readiness to prevent outbreak of disease, saving lives and improving quality of life.

Cholera remains a disease of concern in those regions where human vulnerability and climatic extremes intersect. Therefore, prediction of cholera is perhaps the best way to develop a plan for mitigation and sustainability of water resources, as well as distribution for medicines.

Read the story as reported on the BBC.

Image by Benjamin Sloth Lindgreen
Image by Cristofer Jeschke
Image by Benjamin Sloth Lindgreen
Image by Cristofer Jeschke
Image by Cristofer Jeschke

Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service monitors Amazonian fires

Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service monitors Amazonian fires

The summer of 2019 was characterized by widespread fires, including in the Arctic Circle, Europe, Asia and North America. Unfortunately, despite its relatively high humidity, the world’s largest rainforest is not immune, and over three weeks, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) monitored fires burning in the Amazon region.

Smoke from the fires can have a serious impact on the health of the three million known species of plants and animals in the Amazon, as well as the one million indigenous people who live there. CAMS actively monitored smoke from the fires travelling thousands of kilometres, affecting air quality across Brazil and the rest of South America. CAMS provides consistent and quality-controlled information related to air pollution and health, solar energy, greenhouse gases and climate. 

Read the full story here.

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