Jun 28, 2013

Towards a full integration of Earth Observation products and concepts in land surface models

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(Berne, Switzerland, on 24-27 June, 2013) Understanding climate and projections of its likely future behaviour rely to a great extent on mathematical models of the Earth System, including the dynamics of mass and energy transport. An important component of such models is a land surface scheme, implemented as a land surface model, that deals with the interface between the land and atmosphere, for example by modelling processes such as vegetation dynamics and the Terrestrial Carbon Cycle. Such models increasingly use Earth Observation (EO) products to help constrain behaviour to what we actually ‘see’ from spaceborne satellite instruments, as well as to test the models.

A full exploitation of EO products is currently hampered by the different definitions, assumptions and algorithms applied by the scientific communities involved. It also seems that the radiative transfer schemes applied in land surface models are frequently internally inconsistent, even though concepts supporting consistent schemes are available. There is therefore a strong need for improved communication and integration of the scientific communities involved.

A new project Towards a full integration of Earth Observation products and concepts in land surface models, led by Dr Peter van Bodegom of VU Amsterdam, has been funded by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) (http://www.issibern.ch/). Professor Philip Lewis, from UCL Geography, attended the first team meeting in Berne, Switzerland, on 24-27 June, 2013. The group included scientists from the modelling and EO communities as well as the space agency and other related experts. The meeting involved discussion of consistency in radiative transfer in the various communities, data assimilation approaches, funding and setting the agenda for a more integrated approach within the space agencies.

For further information, see http://www.issibern.ch/program/teams.html