Thursday, April 25, 2024

Climate change space partnership lifts off

A next-generation sensor installed in an Air New Zealand Q300 has taken its first flight, collecting scientific data as it is flown across the country in what is a world-first approach to climate change data collection.

Using direct and reflected GPS and Galileo signals, the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver acts as a scientific “black box”, gathering unique data to better predict storms and enable new climate change research.

The project to fly a next-generation GNSS-R receiver on Air New Zealand’s aircraft to advance earth observation has been gifted the name Rongowai, combining the Māori words Rongo (to sense: hear, feel, smell etc.) and Wai (water), the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) said in a statement.

“The Rongowai project supports scientific research into global water cycle processes and their interactions with climate including better understanding issues such as flooding, droughts and coastal erosion – all of which are long-term impacts of climate change,” the Ministry said.

“In addition, the project will continue to build research, science and innovation capability in New Zealand. With the data processed by the Science Payload Operations Centre, based at the University of Auckland.”

The Ministry said the project presents a unique opportunity for researchers across New Zealand, along with the New Zealand Space Agency to work with NASA and the University of Michigan on NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission.

The project has been made possible through an agreement between NASA and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Read more about Air New Zealand’s role in new climate change research.

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