Space-based technologies are fundamental to understand better the environment surrounding us and save lives: this is also the case of volcanic eruptions. Often monitoring volcanoes with conventional ground-based techniques can be difficult, expensive and limited in its scope. Satellite observation provides additional and fastest means to acquire data and locations too difficult to reach by land.

Nicolò Boschetti, our space security and development researcher, visited the Geldingadalsgos eruption site this weekend. One aspect of his research here at Space Iceland is how space-based technology and infrastructure could be utilized for greater environmental resilience and security.

Since the 1990s, NASA Terra and Landsat satellites and ESA Sentinels have been patrolling the entire planet providing data and images on Earth’s geological activity. This data is used by scientists, civil defense services, governments and civil flight agencies to make it possible to secure areas affected by volcanic eruptions and evacuate the population, but it is still not enough.

The current volcanic activity in the Reykjanes peninsula demonstrates how conventional monitoring methods combined with space-based methods are the best way to understand how to act in a similar situation. Currently, the University of Iceland and the Civil Protection are basing their forecasts and their countermeasures on the possible imminent eruption of volcanoes, thanks to satellite imagery analysis. These are allowing us to analyze what is happening in these minutes and understand what happened in the past better to prevent any damage to the population and infrastructure.Over the years, it will be more and more vital to minimize the adverse effects of natural phenomena; for this reason, it is necessary to be able to count on every possible means: such as satellites and the precious data they provide us.

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