ESA’s Living Planet Symposium 2016

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Conferences – Fairground for the Good Ideas


ESA’s Living Planet Symposium of 2016, possibly Europe’s largest conferences this year, will take place in Prague this spring. From the beginning in 2004, the conference has grown to become the most important forum for exchanging knowledge and experience within the field – utilisation of environmental data from Space.

Nearly 2700 abstracts or proposals in the form of presentations were received when time for registration to participate was out in October. This number is far bigger than for the previous conferences and shows how environment and climate is on the agenda as never before. A scientific committee of more than 200 scientists, mainly from Europe, handle the large number of proposals. Their task is to evaluate the quality of the proposed presentations. Each member of the scientific committee can receive eight to ten presentations within their professional fields for discussion. Each proposal is also evaluated by several members of the scientific committee, and based on their comments, the programme committee gives their final approval. The eye of the needle is relatively narrow, only 50 – 70 percent of the proposals will be approved.


Using Data is the Main Focus

The amount of satellite data is enormous but also costly, and a large part of the conference is therefore dedicated to preparing, interpreting and utilization of collected data. The conference has ten main topics: Atmosphere, Oceanography, Cryosphere, Land, Hazard, Climate and Meteorology, Solid Earth/Geodesy, Near Earth Environment, Methodologies and Products, Open Science. These topics most certainly also reflect the main focus within environmental monitoring.

At the event, scientists and users will be introduced to further types of data, new ways to interpret received data and about the latest finding on Earth’s environment and climate derived from satellite data.

It will also provide an opportunity to introduce missions and sensors in development and building, like the European Sentinels, Earth Explorers and Earth Watch, as well as third part missions.

The symposium is open to anyone interested in remote sensing or involved in the development and exploitation of Earth observation missions. This includes ESA Principal Investigators, co-investigators, Sentinel users, scientists, students, representatives from national, European and international space agencies and value-adding industries. At last, but not least, the main task is to inform and generate an interest for the topics for the general public as well.

The event follows the previous symposia held in Bergen (2010), Montreux (2007) and Salzburg (2004), and the last, Edinburgh 2013.

The Importance of Conferences


From the Living Planet Symposium 2013, Edinburgh, Scotland. Credit: Nordicspace

Much of the basis for environmental and climate monitoring is based on data collected from different types of sensors in space. The main purpose in a scientific mission is to develop the right sensors, collect data in demand, and at last, interpreting the collected data. The scientific community is very open; exchanging ideas, knowledge and results between scientists, institutes and even nations, is regarded fruitful and very common. Meeting colleagues from close to the whole of Europe during such an event, undoubtedly provides new ideas, professional updating and establishing of new contacts. In short, bring research a step forward


Facts for the Decision Makers

Huge disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and drought have hit different parts of the world several times in recent years. Whatever the cause or causes are, everybody seems to agree that the emissions must be lowered, but some must make the decisions to see that happen. Thus, the scientific community within the field of meteorology, climate and environment is constantly working to gather more information, trying to better understand the processes and, equally importantly, inform the decision-makers about the current situation and future goals.  A symposium where knowledge, facts and ideas are in free flow, is also a step on the way.


Living Planet Symposium Prague, Czech Republic on 9-13 May 2016 .

Featured photo: From the Exhibition in 2013. Credit: Nordicspace