Satellite technologies and data play a key role in understanding and learning about ecosystems and human activities in the Arctic
The Arctic is considered the planet’s climate control room. It is playing an important role in the global climate system. However, in recent years the Arctic has been warming at more than twice the global average rate. As the Arctic warms, ice, and snow melt, reducing the region’s reflectivity and causing higher sunlight absorption which further increases temperatures and global water levels. However, satellite technology may help to understand the changes.
The international conference Arctic Frontiers takes place in Tromsø, Northern Norway, hosting participants from academia, politics, government, and business. This year’s theme is “Actions & Reactions”. A side event co-organized by Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) will showcase how the new technologies and data platforms can contribute to learning about ecosystems and human activities in the north.
The use of satellite technologies has revolutionized our ability to study and understand dynamic climate. Received data contributes to climate change models, helping scientists assess the impact and speed of global warming processes.
Russia is also actively developing satellite technologies for monitoring the Arctic. In 2021, Russian scientists launched the world's first Arktika-M research satellite into a high elliptical orbit. At the end of 2023, the second Arktika-M satellite was also launched into orbit.
The Arktika-M highly elliptical hydrometeorological space system aims to monitor the Earth’s atmosphere and surface in the Arctic, collect and relay information from Arctic facilities, and assist in the international search and rescue service.
The satellites exploit the Highly Elliptical Molniya orbit. This is a highly elliptical orbit that enables satellites to spend significant time above a polar region. The satellites, alternating with each other, receive the most important data on meteorological parameters as well as helio-geophysical data at 30-minute intervals over the entire vast area of the Arctic above 60°N.
Thus, the system makes it possible to fill the "gaps" in the conventional weather observation systems and satellite observations, since the Arctic region is not accessible for observations by satellites in geostationary orbits, while low-orbit satellites do not provide observations of this region with the required frequency.