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Anchorage plays host for international ‘remote sensing’ conference

Five scientists from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will lead sessions at the International Geophysical and Remote Sensing Symposium Monday through Friday, September 20 through 24, at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage.

Drawing hundreds of scientists and engineers from across the globe, the symposium is the premier international conference on “remote sensing,” a term used to describe the use of satellites and other airborne tools to measure everything from acreage burned during wildfires to the location of ash clouds spit up by volcanoes. At the symposium, users of the technology will meet to discuss the latest instruments, techniques and programs used around the world.

Professor and Director of the Geophysical Institute Roger Smith, Professor Craig Lingle, and Associate Professors Lyn McNutt, Hajo Eicken, and Ken Dean will co-chair sessions on cryosphere sensing, marine resource management, arctic environmental and climate change, and natural hazards.

The variety of sessions, including presentations that range from satellite-derived winds off the coast of Alaska to locating the remains of a lost colony of settlers in North Carolina, testifies to the broad spectrum of capabilities remote sensing offers to the scientific community. Remote sensing allows scientists to gain access to areas too remote for travel, or that are so large they require a view from well above Earth.

Scientists at the Geophysical Institute depend on this technology to find hot spots on volcanoes, check the extent and reflectiveness of sea ice, and to find information about crustal deformations and impact craters, among other uses. The institute also receives and processes large volumes of satellite data through three dishes on the Fairbanks campus: one on top of the Elvey Building, one atop the International Arctic Research Center and another off the ski trails on UAF’s West Ridge. Scientists from around the world depend on the data received in Fairbanks.

This is the first International Geophysical and Remote Sensing Symposium conference to be held in Alaska.

Submitted by: Amy Hartley (, 907-474-5823)

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