The monitoring of pollutants and events of an environmental and climate change nature form part of European and local legislation aimed at providing humans with a safe and healthy environment. To aid in this process the European Space Agency provide a suit of satellite programmes, namely the Meteorological Programme, the Copernicus Programme and the Earth Observation Envelope Programme. In this project we have started a number of local initiatives to aid local partners in use of said programmes to improve their goals.
Our first initiative is to support partners and resident researchers in the undertaking of research within the area of air quality due to pollutants (CO, CH4, H2O, HCHO, NO2, O3, SO2) more specifically: monitoring of pollutants due to sea traffic within the Maltese harbours; sea vessel emissions monitoring at the bunkering areas; air quality fluctuations during the 2020 and 2021 (partial) lockdowns and other similar periods; provide a Tropospheric column data stream to compliment the land assessment monitor stations currently adopted by the Environment & Resource Authority.
With the Environment and Resource Authority we have collaborated on a number of initiatives, currently working to develop and deliver a number of training session on the use of satellite data and how this can aid in their mission statement. With the Malta Resource Authority, we are collaborating on mapping out the land use and land cover of the Maltese islands over the past few years. Both entities report to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Planning.
To train our students and young researchers with have started an annual hackathon event in remote sensing focusing on researching environmental events of local and regional importance. A number of students have undertaken this challenge who are pursuing this research further for their final year dissertation. Research topics undertaken by our students include assessment of shoreline erosion and assessment of lockdown events on local air quality.