ABU DHABI - The UAE space sector is a vital component of the country's efforts to address climate change challenges with numerous space initiatives and projects.

These projects are based on modern science and knowledge, supporting the UAE's commitment to sustainability, environmental protection, combatting climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting clean and renewable energy solutions.

As the UAE will host the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) sheds light on various space initiatives and projects undertaken by the country to tackle climate challenges.

In November 2022, coinciding with its participation in COP27 in Egypt, the UAE launched the 'Space Data Centre', a digital platform providing scientists, scholars, public and private entities, start-ups, and the public with access to space data to develop solutions for national and global challenges.

The Centre is part of the transformational projects launched by the UAE's government to focus on creating the world's best and most active economy. It aims to provide an innovative ecosystem to utilise space data and technologies to address global sustainability challenges, promote space-related solutions to overcome national challenges and boost the number of companies and patents in the space industry.

Simultaneously, the UAE Space Agency launched the Space Analytics and Solutions (SAS) Programme to create solutions for global sustainability challenges and enhance the role of local and international partnerships and investments in the space industry. This programme aims to build a national culture and expertise in this sector.

In May 2022, the UAE Space Agency (UAESA) signed a cooperation agreement with "Planet Labs," a pioneer in Earth data and insights. This partnership aims to construct an innovative loss and damage atlas, driven by satellite data, that will empower nations to confront the challenges posed by a changing climate.

The agreement aligns seamlessly with the UAESA's vision and strategic objectives, as it actively supports transformative initiatives and projects to combat climate change. Furthermore, it resonates with the UAE's commitment as it prepares to host COP28.

The establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund was the highlight of the COP27 and the culmination of decades of pressure from climate-vulnerable developing countries. The fund aims to provide financial assistance to nations most vulnerable and impacted by the effects of climate change.

In December 2022, the country hosted the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, which is a platform to facilitate dialogue and aims to strengthen cooperation, formulate new international policies and develop solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the global space sector. The event aimed to support global climate efforts and design capabilities for studying, monitoring, mitigating, and adapting to climate change at local, national, regional, and international levels.

In July 2022, the UAE launched the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites, which can create highly detailed radar images of land use, ice cover and surface changes, with a wide range of scientific and commercial applications.

SAR technology combines the power of imaging satellites with cloud and ground penetrating capabilities that will open up applications from urban planning to archaeology, weather prediction, atmospheric quality analysis, and climate change mapping. Critically, the SAR radar-based technology can provide high-resolution images for remote sensing applications regardless of sunlight illumination and weather conditions.

Additionally, UAE's MeznSat, a national project in partnership between UAE Space Agency, the American University of Ras Al Khaimah, and Khalifa University, have launched a nanosatellite, 'MeznSat' to monitor, process and analyse the data sent to the ground station at Khalifa University's Yahsat laboratory and the supporting ground station at AURAK.

MeznSat aims to enrich scientific research and organise space-related activities while studying the Greenhouse Gas and red tide phenomenon in the UAE's atmosphere.

The UAE's MeznSat will study and detect the Greenhouse Gas concentrations, carbon dioxide and methane using shortwave infrared spectrometer.

Furthermore, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and Dubai Municipality launched "DM-SAT1, the first environmental nanometric satellite. Using state-of-the-art space technologies, DMSat-1 monitor, collect and analyse environmental data, as well as measure air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

The environmental satellite will also help create maps of the concentration and distribution of greenhouse gases in Dubai and the UAE and study seasonal changes in the presence of these gases. Data provided by the satellite will be used in several areas, including finding solutions to environmental challenges, developing long-term plans to address urban pollution and climate change and environmental forecasting in Dubai. This data will also help enhance the emirate's leading role in developing quality projects and pioneering research in the climate change domain.