Aerial view of the Peel River running into the Chaffey Dam, NSW.

We cover the range of scales from the individual tree and plot to whole landscapes and the continent.

Environmental Earth Observation

Our expertise focuses on developing applications which integrate observations with models to inform management and policy in key national and international priority areas.

  • 24 May 2011 | Updated 1 November 2012

Overview

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The Environmental Earth Observation Research Program focuses on developing applications which integrate observations with models to inform management and policy in areas of significant national and international relevance. The program is addressing the need to:

  • assess impacts of climate change and variability, vegetation functioning, land use and water management on water availability and quality
  • develop predictive tools to operationalise resource management at relevant management unit scales (ecosystem, catchment, continent)
  • deliver accurate earth observation products
  • advance related technology and tools.

We investigate improved methods to process earth observation data, leading to better data products.

We use data sources, such as on-ground, airborne and satellite observations, and combine these in process models to both improve the predictions made from those models and to achieve greater understanding of large-scale processes.

The use of satellite observations helps us overcome the limitations in important environmental variables caused by the often sparse distribution of ground-based measurement sites in Australia. Combining both ground and satellite data in models helps us ‘constrain’ the models to give better predictions and better understanding of environmental processes.

Our research also investigates improved methods to process earth observation data, leading to better data products.

Terrestrial (land) earth observation

We observe climate, landscape, hydrological and vegetation processes and vegetation and land surface condition in scales ranging from the individual tree and plot to whole landscapes and continent.

Key areas of focus include using remote sensing to investigate changes in land surface-climate interactions, coupling of water and carbon balances and the observation and prediction of hydrological processes such as water resource generation and flooding.

Aquatic (water) earth observation

Using remote sensing and other techniques we develop methods to map water quality and habitats in waters that are traditionally difficult to map. These waters include Australia’s shallow coastal waters, the Great Barrier Reef and turbid inland waters.

Read more about CSIRO Land and Water.