Using New Space technology to help protect crops from the impact of climate change

Astrophysicists spend much of their time looking to far-flung galaxies, observing objects that are lightyears away. But the same technology is now being directed towards Earth to closely monitor our crops and tackle the potential impact of climate change.

Scientists at Herts are aiming to provide agricultural industries with innovative and more accurate ways to keep a close eye on their crops in the face of threats to the food chain.

If global climate change targets are not met, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of catastrophic and irreversible impacts on the food chain.

Professor James Geach believes his team’s new techniques can address this potential disruption to food supply by providing more accurate satellite images of agricultural land. New developments in technology combine Earth Observation (EO) satellites with pioneering technology that can produce accurate imaging of the Earth’s surface, day or night, regardless of cloud cover – which has historically presented a challenge.

This cloud-free, detailed representation of the Earth’s surface is invaluable for many areas of study including marine life, road usage, and even retail customer habits.

For farmers, the resulting imagery provides vital clues for spotting crop disease, predicting growth and yield, monitoring irrigation and even foreseeing disasters such as flood and drought – allowing them to move more quickly to mitigate against the ruin of crops.

Find out more about the Centre for Astrophysics Research.