Earth-Observation and Hydro-Climatology Lab Playing Critical Role in Advancing Region-Specific Research Projects at Masdar Institute
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 30 March, 2015 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that it has received approval for the formation of the UAE Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS).
The letter of approval and the geo-code have been received by the UAE chapter, which has started the process of contacting professionals working in the field of remote sensing in the UAE. As part of the activities during the first year, the UAE Chapter will host a series of distinguished lecturers sponsored by the IEEE GRSS, along with organizing local meetings to share technical interests and foster collaborations.
The IEEE GRSS Chapter can also provide technical support to host remote sensing conferences in the UAE. In this regard, the chapter has already won the bid to host the Joint Urban Remote Sensing Event (JURSE) 2017 in Abu Dhabi and is planning to organize several regional workshops with active support from the Abu Dhabi Education Council and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
“The main aim of establishing the IEEE GRSS chapter is to foster remote sensing research in the UAE,” said Dr. Prashanth Marpu, Chair, UAE Chapter of the IEEE GRSS. “Masdar Institute has established itself as a leading organization in this region in the field of remote sensing. We have a strong group of professors who are actively involved in remote sensing research. We are proud to take a leadership role in this initiative. The IEEE GRSS chapter will help us in bringing together the remote sensing researchers and professionals in the UAE. Our aim is to establish active collaborations with various universities, industry and government agencies in the UAE,” he added.
Faculty members that are part of the Institute’s Earth-Observation and Hydro-Climatology Lab (EOHCL) have spearheaded key remote sensing research projects. . These faculty include Dr. Taha Ouarda, Professor and Head, Institute Center for Water and Environment (iWater); Dr. Hosni Ghedira, Director of the UAE Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (ReCREMA) and Professor of Practice; Dr. Marouane Temimi Associate Professor; Dr. Prashanth Marpu Assistant Professor; and Dr. Annalisa Molini, Assistant Professor.
The EOHCL faculty are also presently involved in a joint four-year pilot study with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to understand how the level of soil moisture affects dust emission in desert and dry environments. It had been selected by NASA in 2011 to be one of seven global pre-launch test sites for a new earth observation Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, which was launched by NASA in January 2015 (smap.jpl.nasa.gov).
Masdar Institute is actively engaged in many more remote sensing research and development projects. The faculty team is working on a diverse range of research projects with special focus on desert and arid climate such as urban heat island studies, studying coral reefs in the Gulf, modelling solar irradiance in the UAE, and studying river drainage networks in the Eastern region of the UAE; monitoring oil spills, algal blooms, solar resources, and dust storms; national-level water budget; land-atmosphere interactions; modelling of hydro-meteorological variables; and understanding the impacts of climate change in arid regions.
The EOHCL continues to play a critical role in driving these projects and bringing sustainable benefits, regionally and globally.