The Blue Wave: Investing in BlueTech Clusters

TMA BlueTech and The Ocean Foundation co-sponsored a White Paper entitled “The Blue Wave:  Investing in BlueTech Clusters” has been published. 

The white paper is designed to explain the importance of the global Blue Economy (ocean and water industries) and the critical role that BlueTech clusters play in supporting SMEs that are the innovators developing technologies that help us understand and address global ocean and water-related environmental problems and opportunities.  There are a number of recommendations included that can support BlueTech clusters based on demonstrable results, promote access for BlueTech SMEs to capital and facilities, and to promote collaboration.    

West Bengal, India. Photo by Asim Mondal on Unsplash

Using machine learning analysis of satellite-derived climate data to predict cholera risks in coastal India

A recent study investigates a novel use of machine learning analyses of satellite-derived Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) to forecast environmental cholera risk in coastal India, home to more than 200 million inhabitants and a region affected by recurrent cholera outbreaks. A machine learning algorithm, trained on clinical cholera data reported in the study region between 2010 and 2018, was used to recognise patterns with the seven satellite-derived ECV datasets and make testable predictions of cholera risk.  

With a reliability success rate of 89%, the study demonstrates that chlorophyll-a concentration, sea surface salinity, sea level anomalies and land surface temperature are key predictors of the cholera outbreaks in the region. Furthermore, while previous studies have utilised remotely-sensed ECVs, this study for the first time investigates the use of satellite sea surface salinity data in machine learning analyses of a combination of ECVs to detect the risk of cholera outbreaks.

With over half of the global cholera cases reported by the World Health Organisation between 2010 and 2016 coming from the  countries bordering the northern Indian Ocean, the study findings can contribute to improved early-warning systems and mitigation strategies of cholera-risk in affected areas, and ultimately save lives.

Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the study was carried out by a team of scientists from the European Space Agency Climate Office and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML). The study is part of the international PODCAST project on environmental reservoirs of Vibrio cholerae and climate in the northern Indian Ocean bordering countries led by UK-PML Marie-Fanny Racault co-author of the study. It contributes to the GEO Blue Planet Working Group on water-associated diseases. The Working Group aims to identify benefits, best practices and feasibility of incorporating Earth observation measurements into early-warning systems for water-associated diseases. To achieve this, the working group provides a forum to exchange information, share data and coordinate activities. Find out more about this working group here.

To access the study paper, click here. (open access)

Citation: Campbell, A.M., Racault, M.-F., Goult, S., Laurenson, A., 2020. Cholera Risk: A Machine Learning Approach Applied to Essential Climate Variables. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, 9378. 


Useful Links

> Press-release from European Space Agency

> GEO Blue Planet Working Group on Water-Associated Diseases

> PODCAST project UKRI funded

> PODCAST-Demo ESA-Future Earth funded 

Steering Committee Member Dr. Elham Mahmoud wins award for best female scientist in Africa

We are happy to announce that our Steering Committee member,  Dr. Elham Mahmoud has won the “Kwame Nakrumah” Scientific Excellence Award as the best female scientist for 2020 in Africa! Congratulations Eli!!!

Call for Nominations for the GEO Blue Planet Steering Committee

The Group on Earth Observations Oceans and Society: Blue Planet Initiative (GEO Blue Planet) is seeking nominations of ocean and coastal observing experts and ocean and coastal-related service users, ocean and coastal social science and policy experts, industry representatives, non-governmental organization representatives, non-profit organization representatives and intergovernmental organization representatives to serve on the Initiative’s Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee is the main decision-making body of GEO Blue Planet and is responsible for coordinating GEO Blue Planet’s activities. Serving on the Steering Committee will provide an opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders in ocean observing, ocean management, ocean policy and sustainable development, and to identify priorities and projects that link ocean observation providers with users.

The Steering Committee meets every other month via teleconference. Steering Committee members serve a 3- year term with the potential for two one-year extensions. The expected time commitment is 5 to 10 hours per month. This call seeks nominations of ocean and coastal observing experts and ocean and coastal social science and policy experts, industry representatives, non-governmental organization representatives, non-profit organization representatives, and intergovernmental organization representatives to serve on the GEO Blue Planet Steering Committee.

Selected nominees will receive invitations to serve on the Steering Committee from the Steering Committee co-chairs. New members will be requested to attend a strategy meeting at the end of March 2021 (dates and times TBC).

Selection will be based on qualifications and the need to strengthen Steering Committee diversity (expertise, institutional background, gender and geographical balance).

Preference will be given to: 

• candidates from geographic areas that are currently underrepresented on the committee including the Pacific Islands, Asia, East Africa and South America;

• female candidates; and

• candidates who represent or provide ties to users of ocean and coastal observations.

If you are interested in nominating a member to the GEO Blue Planet Steering Committee, please send the name and contact information of your nominee along with and brief statement on the nominee’s experience and expertise relevant to GEO Blue Planet to with the subject line “Nomination for GEO Blue Planet Steering Committee” before March 8, 2021. Self nominations are encouraged.