European satellites monitor Aussie floods

European satellites are providing daily mapping data to Australian emergency responders dealing with the devastating Townsville floods.

As floodwaters pour in and out of Townsville, European satellites are giving Australian emergency responders high quality maps of where the water is spreading.

The European Union's Copernicus satellites orbit the Earth every day, but during major disasters the EU offers free daily maps to Australian authorities.

Spyros Afentoulidis, deputy team leader at the European Response Coordination Centre, says the satellite imagery is collected and sent to authorities responding to disasters.

"Sometimes you have a rapid damage assessment after an event and you can get a quick snapshot on where things have been destroyed or not, or where the floods are or not," he told AAP on Wednesday.

"You can use it for operational purposes, you can plan, you can prioritise."

Geoscience Australia and Emergency Management Australia are using the Copernicus maps in their responses to the devastating floods, which have continued for 12 days.

Mr Afentoulidis said similar maps were given to Australian authorities during Cyclone Debbie in 2017 and during floods in NSW in 2016.

The centre produces more than 1000 free maps a year for authorities responding to disasters, with about 40 per cent of the maps being used outside Europe.


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Published 6 February 2019 at 5:56pm
Source: AAP