The Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) has selected nanosatellite IoT network operator Astrocast to develop a satellite communication system for remote snow, glacier and permafrost monitoring stations in Central Asia.
Initiated and driven by the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, the project aims to address challenges associated with acquiring a continuous time series of correctly measured environmental parameters over a long time period with consistent quality, particularly at remote high-latitude and high-altitude field sites. Astrocast will work closely with environmental equipment supplier SensAlpin to apply the satellite communication technology to the remote monitoring stations. Both organizations have worked on a solution that integrates Astrocast’s Astronode S+ on top of the control cabinet of the stations. As part of the trial, an adequate housing for harsh conditions, as well as the software for controlling the Astronode S+, will be implemented and tested in Davos, Switzerland, before it is deployed in Kyrgyzstan.
Andreas Hasler, project manager, SensAlpin, said, “Strategies to enforce climate resilience, and to mitigate and adapt to climate change, must be based on strong and accurate baseline information. This includes data that can be tracked while monitoring the climate through using sophisticated, cost-effective satellite communication systems. In particular, the monitoring of Essential Climate Variables, as defined by the Global Climate Observing System, are important. And, today, snow, glacier and permafrost are considered Essential Climate Variables to track.”
This project also aims to improve the current services of the Hydromet and other research agencies in Kyrgyzstan and other countries in Central Asia.
Martin Hoelzle, department of geosciences, University of Fribourg, said, “Water resources are unevenly distributed in Central Asia and are mainly stored in the cryosphere in the upstream countries – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. As a result, this region faces numerous challenges in water management, energy production, irrigation, agriculture, environment, disaster risk reduction, security and public health. This situation is very challenging for these countries and is taking their own sustainable development for the future into an enhanced risk by the ongoing climate change.”
Fabien Jordan, CEO, Astrocast, said, “Our team worked successfully with SensAlpin to integrate SatIoT into the satellite communication system that they developed for this project. The experience that our joint teams have gained through collaborating on this fascinating project will most likely result in additional developments for similar use cases, such as those found in other polar and high-altitude monitoring projects, where SatIoT can bring connectivity benefits to important sensors and other forms of monitoring equipment. For instance, based on this experience, our technology could be easily and cost-effectively integrated into an array of dataloggers available on the market – such as those provided by the likes of Campbell Scientific, among others.”