UNIT 13 Global Environmental Monitoring

UNIT 13 Global Environmental Monitoring - 1 Unit 12 Global...

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Unit 12 Global Systems Science Remote Sensing Global Systems Approach One very broad area in which there will be a lot of remote sensing research in relation to the biosphere is in the global systems approach. The Sahelian drought of the 1980s, widespread destruction of rain forests, depletion of the ozone layer, and debates about trends in global warming have provided dramatic illustration of the fact that we live in a rapidly changing world. Thirty years of studies of regions and areas has proved inadequate for understanding global change, because many processes operate at a global or hemispherical level. Thus it is necessary to study earth as a system. In 1986, the international council of scientific unions created the international geosphere-biosphere program for studies of global change. This is the largest international project in this century, and it will go on indefinitely into the future. Much of the work based on the monitoring of the earth using climate (Atmosphere) ocean (hydrosphere) and terrestrial (biosphere-lithosphere) Satellites. Earth systems science considers the earth as a whole, whole systems, global systems. These include ecosystems, climate models, energy budget studies and water cycle studies. Because we now have satellites that gather environmental parameters at a global scale, we can, for the first time, gather data on the earth as a system, rather than look at individual components of system. This allows a new approach to environmental studies. We no longer look at ecosystems alone, but can talk about biomes and the biosphere. There are several fundamental problems with this approach. First, biological phenomena characterized by is time lags which are not visible on individual maps, which can be thought of as slices through time . Second, there are complex, mutually casual relationships between the living and nonliving components of the systems. A science of the biosphere is necessary for understanding and mitigating the global effects of technological civilization. We need to understand the implications of human activities. They can be described as Cultural impacts . These can be studied at many scales. Some scientists do this by developing models of the cycling of substances: carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, oxygen cycle carbon dioxide cycle, all of which are impacted by cultural activities. For instance, there is an increase in carbon dioxide from land clearing and the burning of fossil fuels. There is an increase in acid rain from burning of fossil fuels. There are major changes in the storage of carbon on the earth, through the effects of desertification, deforestation and urbanizaton of the earth's surface. At the local level, this can be studied by analyzing change parcel by parcel, using historical satellite imagery and historical aerial photographs. In most the nation, this last record goes back to about 1940.
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