Dr Samuel Almond
Samuel is the Earth Observation and Land Specialist accessing satellite data to provide answers for land based queries including the effects of climate change.
Dr Samuel Almond’s paper on Monitoring the Effects of Climate Change.Download pdf
Monitoring the Effects of Climate Change
Climate is one of the key variables driving natural processes and ecosystems from local to global scales. Therefore the forecast change in climate is likely to have consequences for ecosystem productivity, future food production and land use practices. Alterations in vegetation growth cycles are important indicators of an ecosystems response to climate change. However, the extent to which vegetation will be effected by climate change is species dependent, and to a large extent, poorly understood.
Remote sensing offers the opportunity to monitor ecosystems and their response to variation in climatic factors, such as temperature and rainfall. The various stages in the life cycle of vegetation can be characterised by invisible changes in chlorophyll concentration before other signs, such as leaf fall, occur. Spaceborne sensors, such as MERIS onboard the Envisat satellite, are sensitive to tiny changes in the chlorophyll concentration of plants and trees. Analysis of this data provides an accurate profile of the growing season that can be compared with climate data. This ability to couple vegetation growth cycles with climatic variation over larger areas is vitally important to predict and manage the impact of climatic change on ecosystems. Understanding how different plant species may respond to future climate change has an important bearing on future food production as well as food chains in many terrestrial ecosystems, where the timing of leaf development is crucial to the availability of food for many animals, including insects, birds and mammals.