ESA-Future Earth Joint Program

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Future Earth have partnered to facilitate the development and uptake of Earth observation data by Future Earth's research networks.

The ESA-Future Earth joint program funding supports links by bringing Future Earth scientists to meetings and trainings organised by ESA, to promote the potential of Earth observation data to new communities and develop links with the Global Research Networks (GRPs) and Knowledge-Action Networks (KANs). It also increases ESA's involvement in Future Earth conferences and events, supporting with sponsorship, keynote speakers, expert scientist participation and joint sessions.

SOLAS projects/events funded through this joint program

Workshop: ‘FLARE: Fire science Learning AcRoss the Earth system’

Fire redistributes nutrients from the local environment to global ecosystems via smoke in the atmosphere and ash in rivers. Recent evidence suggests that wildfire-induced nutrient redistribution impacts marine ecosystems by fertilising phytoplankton in nutrient-depleted waters. Increasing trends in wildfire activity and stratified, nutrient-depleted ocean waters suggest that nutrients supplied to the oceans from wildfires will become a critical player in marine productivity in the coming decades. It also highlights one of the ways that increasing wildfire activity can alter the Earth system. The speed of change and the multidisciplinary nature of the problem urge a coordinated research strategy, sharing knowledge on the role of wildfires across all land, atmosphere, and ocean interfaces and how to observe changes from space. To trigger the creation of an integrated wildfire science community, SOLAS hosted a 3-4 day workshop with experts from each field represented from 18-21 September 2023, in Bermuda, UK and Online. The goal was to develop a roadmap for coordinated wildfire research for the next 5- 10 years.

Contact: Douglas Hamilton (

A full report of this workshop is available as SOLAS Event Report Issue 35

More information about the event here.

Constraining High Latitude Dust activity in Greenland using the Sentinel constellation

Mineral dust aerosols play a prominent role across interacting environmental systems, with dust transport linking terrestrial sources to sensitive sinks, such as oceans and the cryosphere. The particular role of dust in the high latitudes is a new focus for research, with high latitude dust (HLD) sources estimated to contribute as much dust annually as Australia. This project used a wide suite of ESA data to understand dust emission and transport from high latitude sources, with a focus on Greenland and Alaska. In summer 2022 it trained two students in embedded summer placements to use Sentinel-2 data to establish an inventory of dust point sources, making use of Sentinel-5P for quantification of aerosol burdens associated with dust outbreaks. The project will then hold a virtual workshop in conjunction with the international IceDust Association and SOLAS and IGAC activities, with opportunities for presentation for early career researchers. The work will be reported in peer-reviewed journal articles.

Bullard, J., Baddock, M., Hall, A., & Rideout, J., Location, timing and trajectory of dust emissions from ice-free Greenland (2016-2021), Conference poster

Project completion report

Workshop: Remote Sensing for Studying the Ocean-Atmosphere Interface

The workshop was designed to advance knowledge of the Core Theme 2 (Air-sea interface and fluxes of mass and energy) of the SOLAS Science Plan, sponsored by ESA through Future Earth, NASA, the Scientific Committee for Ocean Research (SCOR), and SOLAS. Held at the Bolger Center, Potomac, Maryland, USA, 13-15 March 2018, it brought together 43 experts and students from nine countries (Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, UK, and USA) to discuss novel and new remote sensing techniques to study the ocean atmosphere interface. The presentations were grouped into new and future sensors and missions, remote sensing of challenging properties and processes, remote sensing of air-sea fluxes, and remote sensing in challenging conditions. It was stressed that SOLAS wields influence in space agencies to set priorities for future missions and guide specification and selection of instruments, which SOLAS members should take advantage of. A workshop outcome is an accepted session at the ESA Living Planet Symposium held in Milan, Italy in May 2019 entitled "Remote Sensing of the Ocean Surface and Lower Atmosphere – a SOLAS Session".

Workshop: Harnessing Remote Sensing to Address Critical Science Questions in the Ocean-Atmosphere Interface

This meeting was dedicated to highlighting the key challenges in the Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study sciences, and how remote sensing measurements and approaches can help address them. Held at ESA-ESRIN, Frascati, Italy, 13-15 June 2016, it brought remote sensing, SOLAS, and related sciences experts together to brainstorm on the issue, and to produce few examples of key SOLAS problems that could be approached by new or improved remote sensing methodologies. The workshop ideas, including ideas for new missions, are presented in Neukermans et. al. Harnessing remote sensing to address critical science questions on ocean-atmosphere interactions.