How much water is used for irrigation?
11 September 2018
Feeding a growing global population is a major concern, but efforts to grow more food will place an added burden on precious supplies of freshwater. New research shows how measurements of soil moisture from space could be used to understand how much water is used for agriculture and potentially help farmers manage consumption.
It has been estimated that irrigation already consumes roughly 70% of the world's freshwater – possibly the biggest way humans interrupt the water cycle.
An increasing demand for food along with climate change will undoubtedly push this consumption rate even higher.
From the vantage of space, satellites could offer a solution to providing this information globally.
A paper published recently explores a new approach for quantifying irrigation by using soil-moisture observations from satellites such as ESA's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission.
Top story on Copernicus
22 October 2018
As part of a scientific collaboration with the Mexican Space Agency, ESA has combined images from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission to produce a detailed view of the vegetation growing across the entire country.
The high-resolution land-cover map combines images captured by Copernicus Sentinel-2 between 2016 and 2018.