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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2009  /  March 2009  /  Earth Observation data and ecosystem modelling

Earth Observation data and ecosystem modelling

Philip Lewis and Tristan Quaiffe to develop prototype Land Data Assimilation System

Earth Observation data and ecosystem modelling

The National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), in which Prof. Philip Lewis is a Principle Investigator, has been awarded a European Space Agency (ESA) contract to design an Earth Observation Land Data Assimilation System (EOLDAS). The project tender was led by NCEO University of Reading with significant input from Prof. Lewis and Dr. Tristan Quaife from UCL Geography. In the first instance it is an 18 month award to implement a prototype scheme to derive physically consistent estimates of surface properties from multiple space borne instruments. Other partners in the ESA EOLDAS include the University of Swansea, the EU Joint Research Centre at Ispra and the University of Jena.

This work directly follows on from previous Data Assimilation research at UCL Geography in which satellite measured reflectance data were used to constrain an ecosystem model to provide improved estimates of net carbon exchange in a pine forest in Oregon US. Figure 1 shows model predictions of the net carbon exchange from the model alone (top panel) and the model assimilating satellite reflectance data (bottom panel), the dots are field observations (same in both panels). The assimilation procedure clearly improves the model's ability to explain the variability of the observations.