The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN has appointed five new members to the SEDAC User Working Group (UWG) for four-year terms: Curtis Brainard, blog editor of Scientific American; Guido Cervone of the Institute for CyberScience at Pennsylvania State University; Audrey Dorélien of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota; William McConnell of the Center for Global Change & Earth Observations at Michigan State University; and Lela Prashad of NiJeL, Inc. The new members strengthen the UWG′s expertise in such areas as population and health data, remote sensing applications, data science, and user outreach. Chaired by Myron Gutmann of the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado, the UWG provides strategic guidance regarding SEDAC user needs and its interdisciplinary data and services. The UWG met June 14–15 in Washington DC to review recent SEDAC progress, advise on potential “big data” approaches that SEDAC could utilize in developing new data and services, and provide input on future development of mobile apps to address specific user needs.
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Saleem Khan, Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CIESIN, gave a seminar on his research, “COREDAR: A Capacity Building Framework and Tool for Sea-level Rise Risk Communication and Urban Community-based Adaptation,” hosted by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) June 14 on the Columbia University Lamont Campus in Palisades, New York. Khan is nearing the end of his one-year postdoctoral appointment at CIESIN, working with director Robert Chen and associate director for science applications Alex de Sherbinin. He has a PhD in climate change from the Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation Research, Anna University, in Chennai, India, and was named a 2013 Next Generation Climate Change Scholar by the Dissertation Initiative for the Advancement of Climate Change Research (DISCCRS).
How the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN helps “put people on the map” was the topic of an informal seminar given by CIESIN director Robert Chen and associate director for science applications Alex de Sherbinin June 13 at Resources for the Future (RFF) in Washington DC. The seminar, which drew more than 25 RFF staff and interns, provided an overview of SEDAC data and services useful to research and applications on interactions between human and environmental systems. It was organized by the RFF vice president for research and Senior Fellow, Molly Macauley, who served as chair of the SEDAC User Working Group from 2010 to 2014. Chen serves as SEDAC manager and de Sherbinin is SEDAC deputy manager.
A new project, Global High Resolution Population Denominators, has been initiated by WorldPop, an international population mapping initiative, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. CIESIN and the University of Louisville are partners in the project, which is led by Andy Tatem of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. Greg Yetman, associate director for Geospatial Applications, and Linda Pistolesi, geographic information specialist, joined other project partners at a kickoff meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, June 8–9. Yetman gave a presentation on version 4 of the Gridded Population of the World (GPWv4) data collection developed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center operated by CIESIN. GPWv4 incorporates recent census data with many more input census units than previous versions. GPWv4 data will be used to update and extend modeled population data developed by the project.
The First Annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals was held June 6–7 at United Nations headquarters in New York City, aimed at building science, technology and innovation (STI) cooperation around thematic areas for the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In conjunction with the STI Forum, the International Council for Science (ICSU) organized a side event June 6, “Co-designing fit-for-purpose Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) systems at national, regional and international levels.″ CIESIN director Robert Chen was one of the session′s panelists, giving a brief presentation on several innovative efforts to improve data and information access and use in local and national decision making. The side event was co-organized with Future Earth, the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), and the Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START).
CIESIN, based on CHIRPS FCLIM
Map showing changes in rainfall 1981–2010 for the April–June rainy season. From the report Loss and Damage: The Role of Ecosystem Services.
Until now, studies of climate change loss and damage have focused mostly on economic losses associated with disruption of livelihoods and damage to built infrastructure. A new report released by the United Nations Environment Programme, Loss and Damage: The Role of Ecosystem Services, is the first to comprehensively explore, on the one hand, how ecosystems may experience loss and damage from climate extremes and, on the other, how healthy ecosystems may reduce loss and damage from a changing climate. The report presents five case studies from Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America that provide real world examples of climate impacts, highlighting a range of climate stressors such as drought, floods, heat waves, and cyclones. The case studies also illustrate ecosystem-based approaches to climate adaptation. CIESIN produced two of the case studies, described in sections 3.1 and 3.2, which use data from the soon-to-be-released Gridded Population of the World version 4 (GPWv4) data set together with NASA remote sensing data. Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications, is a lead author and Tricia Chai-Onn, geographic information specialist, Al Pinto, senior media designer, and Sylwia Traska, associate research scientist, are contributing authors.
Susana Adamo, CIESIN research scientist, joined approximately 10 early- and mid-career researchers and policy communicators for the second annual workshop on climate, migration, and health at the University of Colorado's Institute of Behavioral Science and its Population Center in Boulder, Colorado, May 26–27. The sub-theme of this year’s workshop was “connections through urbanization,” with a geographic focus on Latin America. Adamo gave a presentation, “Migrants in Urban Areas of Developing Countries: Exposure and Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards.” The workshop was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for science applications, joined demographers, geographers, economists, and other researchers in a workshop on environment and migration issues sponsored by the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), held at World Bank headquarters in Washington DC May 9–10. He presented the methodology used to develop the data set, Global Estimated Net Migration Grids By Decade, v1 (1970 – 2000), available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center, and discussed approaches to integrating remote sensing and socioeconomic data in climate vulnerability mapping. The workshop explored the data sources and methods available to assess the role of environmental change in migration and in particular the number of people who may have migrated primarily or partially as the result of environmental extremes or other environmental factors.
CIESIN director Robert Chen traveled to Geneva May 2–6 for a meeting organized by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the conference, “GIS for a Sustainable World,” sponsored by Esri. GEO held its annual Work Programme Symposium, aimed at furthering its 2016 activities and planning its 2017–19 work programme. Chen reported on activities of the GEO Data Sharing Working Group (DSWG), which he co-chairs, and gave a presentation on data related to human settlements, infrastructure, and population in support of a proposed GEO Human Planet Initiative. He also participated in planning a GEO initiative on Earth Observations in service of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While in Geneva, Chen gave a presentation, “Integrating Population and Infrastructure Data in Support of Climate Services,” in the session, “Climate Services and the SDGs″ at the Esri conference May 4. He then co-chaired a working meeting of the GEO DSWG May 5.
Greg Yetman, associate director for Geospatial Applications, also traveled to Geneva to participate in an expert meeting on the use of space technologies for environmental monitoring and humanitarian affairs, organized by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) May 11–13. He gave a presentation, “Integrating Sensor and Socioeconomic Data,″ highlighting a range of geospatial data sets developed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) that may be useful in disaster management and environmental applications. He also attended the UNOOSA/GEO Discovery Day May 13 at the World Meteorological Organization, supported by DigitalGlobe.
Countries with high economic dependence may have a strong incentive to negotiate benefit-sharing agreements and implement integrated river basin management.
International river basins are under growing pressure from water stress related to human activities, impoundments, poor governance, and climate change, a new report finds. The report, Transboundary River Basins: Status and Trends, is an outcome of the Global Environment Facility Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme, led by the UNEP-DHI Center on Waste and Environment, CIESIN, and other partners. The report documents a baseline assessment of all transboundary water resources on Earth, the most comprehensive analysis of its kind to date. A team from CIESIN led by Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for Science Applications, and Valentina Mara, senior research associate, authored the chapter on socioeconomic indicators, calculating three indicators of risk: economic dependence on water resources; societal well-being levels; and the risk of climate-related hazards. CIESIN geographic information specialist Malanding Jaiteh and deputy director Marc Levy were contributing authors. Findings include that climate-related risk is linked to high economic dependence on transboundary water resources and low well-being; and well-being is linked to governance capacity to address climate-related disasters. In addition to the Final Technical Report and the Summary for Policy Makers, an interactive results portal provides access to global maps of assessment results and indicator metadata sheets. All assessment results, analyses, and supplementary data may be freely downloaded.
CIESIN demographer Susana Adamo (far left) presented at the Mexico City conference, “Big Data Revolution in the Social Sciences.” Both academics and policymakers participated in the event, which was streamed live April 29 from El Colegio de Mexico.
CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo gave a presentation on “Integrating Traditional and Big Data in the Social Sciences: Challenges and Possibilities″ April 29 at the conference, La Revolución Big Data en Estudios Sociales (“The Big Data Revolution in the Social Sciences″) in Mexico City. The conference sought to raise awareness of the importance of “big data” for the social science community, its use in exploring questions pertinent to research in Mexico, and its impact on policy making. The 1,700 registrants included both prominent researchers who shared their research agendas and policymakers who with the academic community helped to identify new research niches using big data. The conference, which was streamed live with presentations in both Spanish and English, was jointly organized by the World Bank and El Colegio de Mexico. The video of the conference is available on YouTube.
CIESIN director Robert Chen, senior research associate Sandra Baptista, and senior research staff assistant Alyssa Fico joined other scientists and students from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) and St. Thomas Aquinas College (STAC) at an Earth Day fair April 22 at the STAC campus in Sparkill, New York. The event, which drew both K–12 students and STAC undergraduates, offered a range of hands-on demonstrations and other activities focused on environmental science and sustainability. CIESIN′s table on interactive mapping of regional environment and hazards featured the new HazPop mobile app (available from the Apple iTunes store) as well as the National Priorities List Superfund Footprint Mapper.
The prompt and inclusive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a major priority of the 70th President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mogens Lykketoft. The High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held at UN Headquarters April 21 to increase international awareness and political momentum related to the so-called global goals. Earth Institute director Jeffrey Sachs participated in a moderated dialogue during the opening ceremony of the debate, and he and CIESIN director Robert Chen were among the participants in the High-Level Lunch on Partnerships for SDG Implementation. Chen then participated as a discussant in the panel, “Harnessing the Data Revolution for SDGs: Opportunities and Challenges,″ as part of “Technology and Data for the SDGs,” the second of two interactive discussions. The event was broadcast live on UN Web TV and summarized in a briefing note by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
Douglas Sathler, visiting associate professor at CIESIN (right) and Susana Adamo, CIESIN research scientist, discuss Sathler's presentation on the socioeconomic, demographic, and environmental patterns of Brazil's Legal Amazonia. The presentation was given April 21 at the Lamont campus of Columbia University.
CIESIN visiting associate professor Douglas Sathler gave a lunchtime talk April 21, presenting an exploratory analysis of the socioeconomic, demographic, and environmental patterns of municipalities in the “deforestation arc” of the Legal Amazonia in Brazil. In collaboration with CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo and Everton M. Lima of Unicamp in Brazil, Sathler aims to support the design of policies for local sustainable development in these municipalities for the preservation and regeneration of the forest.
Sathler is a professor with the Institute of Humanities at Brazil’s Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri (UFVJM), Diamantina, Minas Gerais. He coordinates the network Population, Space, and Environment, of the Brazilian Association of Population Studies, and is chief editor of Revista Espinhaço, a journal of geography and geosciences. His sabbatical at CIESIN is supported by CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel), a public foundation within the Brazil Ministry of Higher Education.
Former CIESIN research scientist Deborah Balk has been named a recipient of the prestigious 2016 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, one of 33 awardees among nearly 200 nominations. Now a professor at the Baruch School of Public Affairs, City University of New York (CUNY), Balk is also associate director of the CUNY Institute of Demographic Research. Her award will fund research on climate-related vulnerability in the 21st century and the related roles of urbanization and migration. Balk and her team continue to use georeferenced population and urbanization data from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, which she helped develop while lead project scientist for SEDAC. She is currently a member of the SEDAC User Working Group.
CIESIN staff members participated in a range of technical meetings in the U.S. and Japan March 30–April 8, addressing many different aspects of science data management. The Journal of Map & Geography Libraries also released the third in a series of special issues on geospatial data management, curation, and preservation, guest edited by Robert Downs, senior digital archivist.
Director Robert Chen attended the annual meeting of the Science Advisory Board of the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory March 30–31 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, beginning his second three-year term as a member of the Board. The Board reviewed recent progress in developing the CCSI, including efforts to improve integrated data management across climate and ecological domains and between modeling and observational activities.
Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications, traveled to Tokyo April 4–6 for a meeting of the Scientific Committee of the International Council for Science World Data System (ICSU-WDS). The Committee, which serves as the ICSU-WDS governing body, reviewed a range of WDS issues, including plans for the WDS Forum and International Data Week in Denver, Colorado, in September 2016.
Robert Downs participated in two technical meetings on the management and interoperability of scientific data, held in College Park and Greenbelt, Maryland, April 4–8. The first meeting April 4–6, organized by the Consultative Committee on Space Data Systems (CCSDS), focused on the development of new standards and reviews of previously published standards. Downs gave a presentation on “Evaluating the Trustworthiness of a Scientific Data Center to Inform Continuous Improvement,” co-authored with Chen. The second meeting, organized by NASA Earth Science Data Systems Working Groups (ESDSWG) April 6–8, covered different topics on earth science data interoperability. Downs presented the poster, “The Data Paper: An Opportunity to Improve Data Discovery, Exploration, and Use,″ and with members of the ESDSWG Data Quality team he co-presented three other posters. He also co-presented the ESDSWG-Data-Recipe 2015 Report: Recommendations to Create Data Recipes.
Susana Adamo, research scientist, participated in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) Second Expert Group Meeting on the forthcoming World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) 2016 in New York City April 7–8, where she reviewed and commented on the section on access and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) data and environment/climate change statistics.
Chen also attended a meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) April 7–8 in Boulder. At the meeting, the Board transferred control of NEON, Inc., the non-profit consortium managing NEON's construction, to Battelle. Chen then joined the other directors in resigning from the Board.
As part of the special issue of Journal of Map & Geography Libraries, Robert Downs authored the editorial, “Reflections on the Management, Curation, and Preservation of Geospatial Data.” Downs served as guest editor of this issue, as well as the two previous special issues in the series.
Al Pinto, senior media designer and a member of the team at CIESIN that developed the Hazards Mapper and HazPop mobile app, leads a demonstration of the mapping services at the Data Science Day @ Columbia event held at Lerner Hall, Columbia University Morningside campus, April 6. Senior systems analyst and programmer Frank Pascuzzi, left, was also a member of the team.
CIESIN’s new Hazards Mapper and related iOS app, the Hazards and Population Mapper (HazPop), were demonstrated at the Data Science Day @ Columbia event April 6 at Lerner Hall on the Columbia University Morningside campus. Staffing CIESIN’s exhibit booth were members of the development team, including associate director for Information Technology Sri Vinay, developers Frank Pascuzzi and Al Pinto, and associate director for Geospatial Applications Greg Yetman, along with CIESIN director Robert Chen. The booth included a poster co-authored by the team with GIS programmer Kytt MacManus, “Visualizing Population Exposure to Hazards.” Senior research associate Paola Kim-Blanco also presented a poster on the validation of intercity roads data using crowd-sourcing methods. The hazard mapping tools enable users to visualize recent data on earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other hazards in relationship to population, settlements, and major infrastructure such as dams and power plants. The Hazards Mapper is available through the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, and the initial version of the HazPop app may be downloaded through Apple iTunes. The event, sponsored by Columbia's Data Science Institute, drew more than 600 attendees from both the public and private sectors.
Marc Levy, CIESIN deputy director, gave a lightning talk April 5 at a Food Security Symposium organized by the World Wide Human Geography Data (WWHGD) Working Group and hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia. His talk highlighted three grand challenges regarding food security data related to population and food security mapping and modeling. His presentation and an audio file of the panel discussion are available through the WWHGD Web site (free registration required).
Currently in an initial testing phase, the HazPop mobile application developed by the NASA SEDAC operated by CIESIN is available through iTunes.
A new mobile application, the Hazards and Population Mapper (HazPop), enables users to display recent data on hazards such as earthquakes and tornados in relationship to population, major infrastructure, and satellite imagery. The initial version of HazPop is now available for mobile phones and tablets running Apple′s iOS9 operating system via the iTunes store. HazPop draws on three data sets available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC)—Gridded Population of the World v3, Nuclear Power Plants Locations v1, and Global Reservoirs and Dams v1.1—along with NASA real-time active fire and aerosol optical depth (AOD) data, earthquake alerts from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and flood and tornado alerts for the US from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Users can visualize the location of active fires over the past 48 hours, earthquake alerts over the past seven days, and yesterday′s air pollution data measured from space. A key feature of the app is the ability to obtain an estimate of the total population in proximity to the user′s current location or to a recent hazard event or other point of interest.
HazPop is designed for use by disaster risk managers, humanitarian response organizations, public health professionals, journalists, and others needing a quick assessment of the population potentially exposed to a major hazard event or developing emergency. It is not intended to support in-depth risk assessment or estimation of actual disaster losses. The initial version has been released to enable further testing of the app and associated data services by a broad user community. User feedback on HazPop is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo, visiting research scientist Douglas Sathler, and user services manager Joe Schumacher attended the 2016 annual meeting of the Population Association of America (PAA) March 30–April 2 in Washington, DC. Adamo presented a paper co-authored with research associate Paola Kim-Blanco on migrants in urban areas of developing countries and their exposure to environmental hazards. Sathler presented a poster on deforestation and local development in the Brazilian Legal Amazonia, co-authored with Adamo and Everton Lima of the University of Campinas. Schumacher staffed an exhibit booth at the meeting, showcasing the new version of the Gridded Population of the World data set and other georeferenced population data products and services available through the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN. Each year the PAA meeting brings together more than 2,000 scientists and other professionals engaged in research on population issues.
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