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Observational Needs for IGOL. Contribution from Anthony C. Janetos The Heinz Center. Observational Needs. Request from Chair to consider observational needs from perspective of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Have considered research/assessment done for MA on rapid land-cover change

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Observational needs for igol

Observational Needs for IGOL

Contribution from

Anthony C. Janetos

The Heinz Center

Observational needs
Observational Needs

  • Request from Chair to consider observational needs from perspective of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

  • Have considered research/assessment done for MA on rapid land-cover change

  • Considered findings that are emerging from the individual chapters within MA conditions and trends

  • Considered national/international environmental indicators processes

Observation needs
Observation Needs

  • Request from Chair to consider intersection of

    • High priority observations

    • Observations where there are clear marked deficiencies

    • Observations needing improvements where it is clear what is needed to make improvements

  • Focus on Land, so not considering ocean, marine, atmospheric related issues

  • Considering remotely sensed data primarily, but need to recognize that must be accompanied by in situ and human dimensions data


  • “Landsat-Class” data provided globally, operationally

  • Continuous, near-real time fire monitoring

  • Elevation

  • High resolution sampling for ecosystem disturbance and recovery

  • High resolution sampling for changes in urban and built environment

  • Continuous, near-real time net primary productivity monitoring

Landsat class data
“Landsat-Class Data”

  • Requires an operational commitment for global data

  • Clearly a foundation of land-cover, land-cover change and land-use monitoring

  • Must be consistent, replicable, allow for technological development

  • Must be augmented by quite different sorts of data for economic, human dimensions, ecosystem services, biodiversity

Fire monitoring
Fire Monitoring

  • Technical issues have been largely worked out (for remote sensing)

  • Need to ensure international coordination and sharing of data

  • Questions of regional/global implementation

  • Monitoring of both occurrence and of recovery from fire (more on this later)

  • Possible transition from research to truly operational status?


  • Critical to maintain high-quality elevation data sets

  • Clearly important for a wide range of hydrologic, hazard-related, and other environmental applications

Primary productivity
Primary Productivity

  • Global monitoring of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation at high temporal resolution

  • Move into operational status, but allow for technological evolution

  • Foundation for modeling and calculation of a number of ecosystem services

  • As with other issues, needs to be accompanied by a wide range of other physical, human dimensions data for understanding of consequences of change

Disturbance and recovery of ecosystems
Disturbance and Recovery of Ecosystems

  • Disturbance (e.g. fire, storms, harvesting, pests) critical feature of ecosystem dynamics

  • Drives a lot of carbon, nitrogen, biological dynamics

  • Can be monitored in part with very high resolution sampling

  • May be in part a research topic to evaluate how much sampling, temporal dynamics, and where it needs to be done

Urban environments
Urban Environments

  • Growth of urban and suburban environments a very important global issue

  • Most of growth in urban environments over next several decades will occur in developing countries

  • Systematic sampling of these environments for quantitative analysis of pressures on goods and services going to be important to support

  • Clearly needs to be developed in concurrence with a wide variety of other types of data