NOAA 2001-R304
Contact: Pat Viets


Scientists and managers providing environmental services for the government will gather at a symposium on satellite remote sensing using synthetic aperture radar, instruments that produce pictures of the Earth's land and oceans and provide vital environmental data. NOAA and the Canadian Space Agency announced today. The symposium will be held at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., on March 28-29.

Scientists and managers in the government and their partners in industry and academia will be participating in this symposium. Participants will assess progress in developing practical products and services using data from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instruments and will preview products and services expected in the future. Participants will also discuss how these data can be obtained by U.S. government agencies from commercial and government sources.

"I am gratified by the scientific and operational use already being made of RADARSAT-1 data in over 50 countries and, I anticipate significant benefits from further exploitation of SAR data and services," said Rolf Mamen, Canadian Space Agency's director general of space operations and symposium co-chair.

Synthetic aperture radar, currently flown on the Canadian Space Agency's RADARSAT-1 and the European Space Agency's ERS-2, can "see through" clouds and can be used day or night. SAR instruments produce high resolution images of the Earth's lands and oceans, providing data particularly vital in forecasting and analyzing sea ice. SAR data have also demonstrated promise in monitoring environmental disasters such as floods, earthquakes, oil spills and volcanic eruptions. U.S. government agencies, including NOAA, NASA, and NASA-approved researchers, have access to all archived RADARSAT-1 data and direct approximately 15 percent of the satellite's observing time.

"SAR instruments are well-suited to a wide variety of practical applications," said Helen Wood, director of NOAA's Office of Satellite Data Processing and Distribution and U.S. co-chair of the symposium. "For over 10 years, SAR data have been used in U.S. government operations and research. Current SAR missions such as RADARSAT-1 and ERS-2, followed by new SAR missions from Canada, Europe and Japan, in the next few years, should help to make this type of data available to support the daily missions of many U.S. government agencies for the foreseeable future."

SAR applications include oceanography, meteorology, hydrology, forestry, geology, glaciology, agriculture and archeology.

For more information on the symposium, see:

For questions, please contact Karen Friedman:
or call (301)763-8349.