Danielle Wood hosts panel discussion on Modeling at Group on Earth Observations Plenary


Copyright; Group on Earth Observations and Government of Australia

Group on Earth Observations GEO Week 2019

November 5, 2019
8:30am — 10:00am

Earth Observations and Modeling: Dialogue for Added Value and Knowledge

Tuesday, 8:30am to 10:00am, Canberra, Australia

A “Targeted Side Event” within GEO Week 2019, the gathering of the Group on Earth Observations in Canberra, Australia during 4 to 8 November 2019. https://www.earthobservations.org/geoweek19.php

Event Overview: The session will convene the GEO community with experts in several different types of models that interact with earth science and earth observations: 1) Earth systems models that estimate the state of the natural environment; 2)  Artificial Intelligence models (such as those based on machine learning) that categorize geospatial data; and 3) Complex systems models that simulate interactions between human engineered systems and the environment. Speakers from industry, academia and government will share examples of how they use all three types of modeling in coordination with earth observation to create information about the social and natural environment that contributes to addressing societal needs. The event will identify opportunities to enhance collaboration and reduce barriers between these modeling communities, drawing on experience while considering examples from countries in several regions. Better integration of EO data with diverse models is critical to the improved diagnostics and prediction needed to realize significant societal benefits. The Earth Observation community is collectively learning the strengths and application opportunities for the three in modeling approaches and their varied data needs. Ongoing research and practice are improving methods to assimilate earth observation data from satellites, aerial platforms and in-situ measurements into modeling efforts—either to provide training data or to improve modeling accuracy. 

This event will initiate dialogue between the relevant communities, aimed at identifying key barriers to EO data use in different modeling approaches, exploring ways to facilitate data use in model development, validation, and application, and demonstrating the value of appropriate integration of observational and model data. Based on the experience of the event participants, earth systems modeling is very commonly combined with earth observation data via assimilation. New approaches to build machine learning models to complement or build on earth observation data are emerging. Meanwhile, complex systems models are less often used with earth observation data; this is an area of untapped potential.

Points of contact: Professor Danielle Wood and William Sonntag, Space Enabled research group, MIT Media Lab and Robert Chen, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University

Session Panelists

Dr. Robert S. Chen, Director and Senior Research Scientist, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), The Earth Institute, Columbia University. Robert S. Chen is director of CIESIN, a research unit of the Earth Institute at Columbia University based in New York. Dr. Chen is a co-chair of the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and is leading the SDSN delegation at this GEO Plenary & Ministerial. Within GEO, he has served as a co-chair of the Data Sharing Working Group and co-leads GEO’s Human Planet Initiative. At CIESIN, he manages the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) and a range of sponsored projects and activities dealing with data management, integration, and applications.

Anastasia Wahome, Science and Data Lead, SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa, Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development, Nairobi, Kenya. Anastasia’s background is in Computer Science, with over 10 years experience in developing software systems in various sectors (water, population and health). Anastasia holds a Masters in GIS. In addition to developing software, she has led teams in development of systems and data management. Anastasia currently leads the GeoInformation Technology and science teams at SERVIR-Eastern and Southern Africa. She has also led the development of data management, GIS data productions and projects Quality control policies at RCMRD.

Dr. James Cleverly, University of Technology Sydney and TERN (Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network) Australia. TERN is Australia’s land ecosystem observatory. The network observes, records and measures critical terrestrial ecosystem parameters and conditions for Australia over time from continental scale to field sites at hundreds of representative locations. This information is standardised, integrated and transformed into model-ready data, enabling researchers to discern and interpret changes in land ecosystems. Understanding ecosystem change, the rate of change, and underlying causes is essential for effectively protecting and managing Australia’s environment and the many services it provides. Dr. Cleverly is a researcher at the University of Technology, Sydney that contributes to TERN’s work in several areas, with a focus on semiarid environments. He works on carbon and water budgets, climatology and hydrometeorology of semi-arid environments and Ecohydrology of groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

Dr. Narendra Kumar Tuteja, Manager, Water Forecasting Services, Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Government. Dr Narendra Kumar Tuteja has over thirty years of multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering experience in industry, applied research and academia in hydrology, water resources and natural resource management across Australia, Europe and South Asia. Narendra has supported development of policies and decision making in the water sector. He currently leads development and delivery of Water Forecasting services in Australia at the Bureau of Meteorology. Since 2009, he has successfully guided large multi-disciplinary professional teams delivering 7-day and seasonal streamflow forecasts as well as long term water availability trends. He works closely with regulators, environmental managers and water utilities across all jurisdictions in Australia. His work has supported development of policies and decision making in the water sector.

Dr. Rebecca Farrington, Auscope.org, University of Melbourne. AuScope provides geoscientists with world-class research ‘toolkit’ to help tackle Australia’s key geoscience challenges. Rebecca Farrington is an academic specialist with a joint position in the School of Earth Sciences and Chancellery (Research). With research expertise in computational mathematics and geodynamics, Rebecca has served as the research manager of Underworld Geodynamics, leading a team of academic and professional staff developing software to model planetary interiors. As a leader within the University of Melbourne’s Petascale Campus Initiative and the NCRIS funded Auscope geoscience community, Rebecca champions the sustainable development of academic and community-led data-intensive research programs. 

Dr. Sara Moron, Research Fellow, Basin Genesis Hub, Australia. Sara Morón is a Research Fellow at Sydney and Melbourne Universities and manager of the ARC Basin Genesis Hub, a $5.4M project connecting “Big Data” analysis and high-performance computing. Her research focuses on understanding the formation and evolution of modern and ancient rivers and deltas as well as the dynamics of ocean-land interactions. Her research combines numerical modelling, geochemistry and field observations. Sara holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Adelaide and an MPhil in Geology from the University of Minnesota, USA. Sara held a research position in the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, where she worked on multiple interdisciplinary projects that dealt with the geological evolution of the Americas and the understanding of the responses of ancient ecosystems to previous climatic changes as analogues for the ongoing climatic change.


Copyright: Danielle Wood and Panel Speakers

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