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SPIE Professional January 2015

Remote sensing tracks global environmental change in real time

Technology R&D

Cover of Journal of Applied Remote Sensing

Earth observation from space has incomparable advantages for monitoring global change factors when compared with conventional methods. It allows monitoring of environmental changes at global and regional scales. This is done accurately and in real time. This type of observation can also track and monitor paroxysmal extreme environmental events in real time.

The 2014 edition of the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (JARS) features a special section on “Earth Observation for Global Environmental Change” and presents new research on global change based on earth observation.

This special section includes nine papers divided into three sections: Earth observation for ice and snow; Earth observation for land and cities; and remote sensing methodologies. Huadong Guo of the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth at the Chinese Academy of Sciences served as guest editor.

Global change refers to changes in the biophysical environment resulting from natural factors or human activities, as well as changes in society and human well-being, Guo writes in the section editorial. Global environmental changes can pose a severe threat to the survival and development of humankind.

photo of Huadong GuoGuo (pictured at right) points out that global-change research requires advanced theories and methodologies for analyzing large-scale, long-term temporal and spatial evolution. Earth observation from space, from visible to infrared to microwave wavelengths, has become an important technology for use in observing global change phenomena.

The development and application of Earth observation are considered priorities in research on global changes. Comprehensive observation by multiple remote-sensing systems could provide an effective means for accurately observing global change.

A project of the National Basic Research Program of China titled “Earth observation for sensitive variables of global change: mechanisms and methodologies” has been ongoing over the past several years, Guo continues. The research team has carried out spaceborne-airborne-ground remote-sensing experiments and obtained a large amount of observational data.

This special section of the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing shows some of the research results.

Eight of the papers are open access on the SPIE Digital Library.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4201501.16

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