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Climate and environmental monitoring for decision making

Ceccato, Pietro N.; Fernandes, Katia de Avila; Ruiz Carrascal, Carlos Daniel; Allis, Erica

As human populations grow, so do the resource demands imposed on ecosystems and the impacts of our global footprint. Natural resources are not invulnerable, nor infinitely available. The environmental impacts of anthropogenic actions are becoming more apparent – air and water quality are increasingly compromised, pests and diseases are extending beyond their historical boundaries, and deforestation is exacerbating flooding downstream and loss of biodiversity. Society is increasingly becoming aware that ecosystem services are not only limited, but also that they are threatened by human activities. The need to better consider long-term ecosystem health and its role in enabling human habitation and economic activity is urgent. In this context IRI conducts research to understand the impact of climate and environmental changes on different sectors including agriculture, water management, human health, and natural disasters. Through exhaustive, rigorous evaluation, analysis and interpretation of remotely-sensed products and in-situ measurements, IRI ensures its partners have access to the most reliable and relevant information about the climate and environment in a format that best informs their decision making and planning. We focus on monitoring satellite-derived and in-situ estimates of precipitation, temperature, vegetation, water bodies, evapotranspiration, and land cover. Ultimately, the new products developed at IRI in partnership with other institutions at national (e.g. NOAA, NASA, USGS) and international (e.g. National Meteorology Agencies, UN FAO) levels are integrated into operational early-warning systems for health, natural disasters, agriculture, and food security. The new products which monitor in almost real-time climate and environmental conditions are made available through two online data bases at IRI called IRI Data Library and Map Room. In this paper we present the products developed at IRI and how they are integrated into Early Warning Systems (EWS). We also discuss IRI’s experience in linking EWS into decisions and policies using the fire early warning system as a concrete example.


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Earth Perspectives

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