The Population-Environment Research Network (PERN) held an online cyberseminar May 18–25 on analysis of the population-climate change-food security nexus. The cyberseminar was moderated by Raya Muttarak of the University of East Anglia and included statements by seven expert panelists from a range of disciplines. A webinar launching the cyberseminar May 18 was led by Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications. He and CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo are co-coordinators of PERN, which is a panel of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) and a sustained partner of Future Earth. PERN is supported by the NASA Socioeonomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN. A YouTube video of the webinar is available online, and background materials from the cyberseminar are posted on the PERN website.
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New Publications: Climate Information for Adaptation Planning and TRUST Principles for Digital RepositoriesMay 25, 2020
CIESIN scientists have recently published A Living Manual for Climate Information for Adaptation Planning. This online manual is intended for those preparing National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) or specific adaptation interventions, offering guidance in using climate information in the context of adaptation planning. The material was developed as part of a coastal adaptation project in West Africa, the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). CIESIN has been providing technical assistance to WA BiCC on coastal climate resilience, as part of a team led by Tetra Tech ARD. The Web-based resource is termed a “living manual” since the contents have been updated based on the feedback of participants in a series of country workshops held in the West Africa region. CIESIN associate research scientist Sylwia Trzaska, senior research associate Emilie Schnarr, and associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin are co-authors.
Senior digital archivist Robert Downs is one of the co-authors of a new paper, “The TRUST Principles for Digital Repositories,″ appearing in the Nature journal Scientific Data. Dawei Lin of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the lead author. The open access paper discusses a set of guiding principles to represent digital repository trustworthiness (transparency, responsibility, user focus, sustainability and technology), developed by stakeholder organizations representing diverse segments of the digital repository community.
The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) managed by CIESIN has released several new datasets valuable in assessing future global energy development and land use and in characterizing potential long-term future population distribution in the context of climate change.
One dataset, Global One-Eighth Degree Population Base Year and Projection Grids Based on the SSPs, was developed by Bryan Jones of the City University of New York and Brian O’Neill of the University of Denver. The dataset consists of global urban, rural, and total population data for the base year 2000, and population projections at ten-year intervals for 2010-2100 at a resolution of one-eighth degree (7.5 arc-minutes). These are consistent both quantitatively and qualitatively with the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) that were developed in support of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments. A second dataset, Global 1-km Downscaled Population Base Year and Projection Grids Based on the SSPs, provides a downscaled version of the first dataset, at 1-km resolution (about 30 arc-seconds). This dataset was developed by Jing Gao of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Spatial demographic scenario data are key inputs for the analysis of future land use, energy use, and emission patterns together with potential future climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation.
A third dataset, Global Development Potential Indices (DPI), was developed by James Oakleaf of The Nature Conservancy, and colleagues. This dataset ranks global land suitability in the sectors of renewable energy, fossil fuels, mining, and agriculture, to aid in setting priorities for development and conservation efforts. Each sector-based DPI is a 1-km spatially-explicit, global land suitability map that has been validated using locations of current and planned development.
SEDAC is one of NASA′s Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) in the NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System. SEDAC seeks to improve access to and use of key socioeconomic and interdisciplinary data that are or can be integrated with remote sensing data. SEDAC datasets have been cited in more than 5,000 different scientific publications during the past 20 years.
Associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin is a co-author of the open access article, “A Systematic Review of Coastal Vulnerability Mapping,” appearing in the journal Sustainability. The paper, by Anamaria Bukvic of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Guillaume Rohat of the University of Geneva, Alex Apotsos of Williams College, and de Sherbinin, evaluates the state of coastal vulnerability assessment mapping efforts and recommends improvements in methodological rigor, policy relevance, and alignment with other vulnerability assessment paradigms. The paper stems from previous work supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) under funding received from the National Science Foundation. The paper is dedicated to the memory of second author Rohat, who passed away unexpectedly in October 2019.
Senior digital archivist Robert Downs is also co-author of the open access paper, “Risk Assessment for Scientific Data,” published in the CODATA Data Science Journal. Authors of the paper are Matthew Mayernik of the National Center for Atmospheric Research; Kelsey Breseman of the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI); Downs; Ruth Duerr of the Ronan Institute for Independent Scholarship; Alexis Garretson of George Mason University; Chung-Yi (Sophie) Hou of the Ronin Institute; EDGI; and the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Data Stewardship Committee. The paper presents an analysis of data risk factors that scientific data collections may face, together with a data risk assessment matrix to support risk assessment and mitigation efforts.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently established a new Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessments (TG-Data) to provide guidance to the IPCC’s Data Distribution Centre (DDC) on curation, traceability, stability, availability, and transparency of data and scenarios related to the reports of the IPCC. CIESIN has operated the socioeconomic element of the IPCC DDC through its NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) for more than 15 years. CIESIN director Robert Chen serves as co-manager of the DDC, and he and information scientist Xiaoshi Xing have been appointed as ex officio members of TG-Data.
On November 6–8 Xing traveled to Montreal, Canada, to participate in the first face-to-face meeting of TG-Data. The meeting focused on the group′s new terms of reference established by the IPCC and on the evolving data needs and issues associated with the sixth IPCC assessment now under way. The meeting also marked the transition from the previous Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA), which was represented at the meeting by former co-chair, Timothy Carter of the Finnish Environment Institute.
CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo attended the conference, “Demographic Responses to Changes in the Natural Environment,” organized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Demography & Ecology/Applied Population Laboratory October 24–25 in Madison, Wisconsin. She presented a poster highlighting the report, Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Migration, on the influence of longer-term climate impacts on internal migration. The report was produced by World Bank staff and a team of researchers at CIESIN, the City University of New York Institute for Demographic Research, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Earlier in the month Adamo participated in the panel discussion, “Ending Poverty through Multilateral Cooperation: Global Actions and Local Impacts,” at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York City October 15. Adamo described SEDAC’s poverty mapping collection, highlighting the recently updated Global Subnational Infant Mortality Rates v2 data set. She also discussed the importance of geospatial data for meeting and monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
CIESIN has successfully teamed with scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and with external partners on several new project awards and initiatives. Associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin is one of the co-investigators on a new four-year “convergence“ research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), related to climate change, food security and migration. The principal investigator of the grant is Lamont Research Professor Richard Seager, and other participants include Wolfram Schlenker of Columbia′s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and Michael Puma, director of the Earth Institute's Center for Climate Systems Research (CCSR).
Associate director for Geospatial Applications Greg Yetman is the lead of a sub-award to ImageCat, Inc. on a NASA-funded disasters project on critical infrastructure data. CIESIN has had numerous collaborations with ImageCat on hazard data research and development in the past, and ImageCat is active in several CIESIN-led initiatives such as the POPGRID Data Collaborative and its NASA-supported Human Planet project.
Senior systems analyst/GIS developer Kytt MacManus has been awarded a project from the World Resources Institute, in which he is contributing to the development of new sea-level rise estimates to a new report by the Coalition for Urban Transition on addressing urban climate change issues. MacManus is also the principal investigator of a new “flexible contract” with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that allows for small non-competitive awards on energy and climate activities.
Several publications authored or co-authored by CIESIN staff have been published recently. Associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin is lead author of the paper, “Climate Vulnerability Mapping: A Systematic Review and Future Prospects,” appearing in the peer-reviewed journal, WIREs Climate Change. The article reports on a study to systematically assess 84 climate vulnerability mapping studies, with the goal of encouraging further methodological refinement and identifying outstanding examples that could help to guide future work in this area. The study benefited from two workshops held in 2017 supported by National Socio‐Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.
The article, “Allocating People to Pixels: A Review of Large-Scale Gridded Population Data Products and Their Fitness for Use,” has been published in the journal Earth Systems Science Data. The lead author is Stefan Leyk of the University of Colorado. CIESIN contributors are de Sherbinin, research scientist Susana Adamo, senior systems analyst Kytt MacManus, senior geographic information specialist Linda Pistolesi, and deputy director Marc Levy. Former CIESIN research scientist Deborah Balk, who is now associate director of the Institute for Demographic Research at the City University of New York (CUNY), is also a co-author. The paper is an outcome of the POPGRID Data Collaborative, an international effort to coordinate and improve the utility of global-scale gridded population data.
Former CIESIN visiting scholar Douglas Sathler is lead author of “Assessing the Regional Context of Migration in the Brazilian Amazon through Spatial Regression Modeling” in the journal Applied Geography. Co-authors include Adamo, de Sherbinin, and senior research associate Paola Kim-Blanco. The article examines spatial patterns of both in-migration and outimigration in the Brazilian Amazon during the period 2000–2010. Sathler is a researcher with the Center for Geosciences of the Interdisciplinary College in Humanities at the Federal University of Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri (UFVJM) in Diamantina, Brazil.
Greg Yetman, associate director for Geospatial Applications, is a co-author on the paper, “Evaluating Nighttime Lights and Population Distribution as Proxies for Mapping Anthropogenic CO2 Emission in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.” Andrea Gaughan of the University of Louisville is lead author of the paper, which was published in Environmental Research Communications. The paper stems from work organized by the WorldPop project.
Senior digital archivist Robert Downs is lead author of the Technical Note, “Reuse Readiness Assessment of Data Quality Software Products (ESDS-RFC-039),” co-authored with Hampapuram Ramapriyan of Science Systems and Applications, Inc. and Yang Wei of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC). The Data Quality Working Group of the Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Standards Office (ESO) recommends this assessment for use in NASA Earth Science Data Systems.
Anthony (Tony) Janetos, internationally renowned climate change researcher and director of Boston University's Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, passed away August 6. Janetos had served as a member of the User Working Group (UWG) of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) in 2002–2006. He was a key figure in NASA′s early “Mission to Planet Earth″ program and more recently had a leading role in the U.S. National Climate Assessment. He was a strong proponent of the need for scientific data and policy-relevant indicators to support evidence-based decision making. Prior to joining Boston University, Janetos was head of the Joint Global Change Research Institute at the University of Maryland. He earned his bachelor’s magna cum laude from Harvard University, and his master’s and PhD in biology from Princeton University.
The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN has begun accepting submissions of scientific data related to human-environment interactions that may be of high utility to the human dimensions research and applications communities. In light of increased recognition of the importance of open access to research data by universities, scientific publishers, funding organizations, and other organizations, SEDAC seeks to increase the accessibility and utilization of important global- or regional-scale spatial data, especially those derived from or complementary to remote sensing data from NASA or other sources. SEDAC will also consider other types of data that meet its acquisition criteria. Priority topics of interest for data acquisition and dissemination include administrative boundaries and other reference layers, population dynamics, human settlements and infrastructure, land use/land cover change, economic development, environmental health, and policy-relevant environmental and sustainable development indicators.
Submission of candidate data sets is a two-step process. In the first step, SEDAC requests basic information on the data (e.g., nature of the data set and its primary purpose) that will help evaluate suitability for SEDAC archiving and dissemination. If the data appear appropriate, a copy of the data will be requested along with additional information for review by the SEDAC User Working Group (UWG). If feasible and appropriate, SEDAC will work with data authors and journal publishers to coordinate data release with publication of a peer-reviewed article. SEDAC will also consider valuable older data sets that may be at risk of loss if not properly archived, as well as national or sub-national data for key countries or regions, on a case-by-case basis.
CIESIN bids farewell to Kira Topik, senior research staff assistant, who has moved to the West Coast to pursue other opportunities. Topik began at CIESIN in the summer of 2017 as an intern while pursuing her MA in Columbia University’s Climate and Society program. Previously, she earned a BA in international and intercultural studies, and Spanish, from Pitzer College. Topik supported the communications and coordination needs of the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) program, helping to establish and operationalize relationships with various partners and stakeholders around the world.
Tiago Nascimento, a doctoral student hosted by CIESIN since June 2018, has completed his visit, returning to the Center for Development and Regional Planning (Cedeplar) at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil. While at CIESIN, Nascimento conducted research on the spatial mobility of the population in response to the incidence of droughts in Brazil’s Northeast. He has a bachelor’s degree in geography and a master’s degree in demography from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, also in Brazil. CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo served as his host supervisor.
Prof. Sophie Vanwambeke of the Department of Geography at the UCLouvain in Belgium is finishing her 9-month appointment as a visiting senior research scientist at the end of June. While at Columbia, she worked with Maria Diuk-Wasser of the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B) on the ecology and epidemiology of vector-borne diseases and with CIESIN scientists on spatial heterogeneity of population exposure to hazards. She gave an informal talk about her work June 18 at the Lamont campus.
CIESIN has also gained three interns for the summer. Mairead Milán has returned to CIESIN after working as an Earth Institute intern during the spring 2019 semester. She graduated in May with a BA in sustainable development from Columbia College. Milán is working with senior systems analyst/programmer Kytt MacManus, continuing her work on the fifth version of the Gridded Population of the World (GPW) to be developed and released by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC). Dorothee Grant is also working with MacManus, helping to integrate population data with night time lights data collected by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite. Grant is a Columbia College undergraduate majoring in computer science. Sarah Smith, a graduate student in the Climate and Society program, is working with associate director for science applications Alex de Sherbinin on the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WABiCC) project, which is funded by the US Agency for International Development. She is putting together a manual for adaptation practitioners on incorporating climate information into management strategies. Smith has a BA from Lehigh University in anthropology, with a concentration in physical anthropology.
Annapolis, Maryland, was the setting for a National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) workshop May 15–17, “Socio-environmental Systems Indicators for Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience in the US.” The goal of the workshop was to develop indicators of climate change that address both biophysical and social impacts, in support of adaptation and resilience decisions in the United States. Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for science applications, gave a presentation, “Geospatial Indicators of Global Change,” which featured descriptions of data products from the NASA Socieoeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN. He also discussed climate change hotspots and best practices in vulnerability mapping and data visualization. SESYNC, which facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations to develop data-driven solutions to socio-environmental issues, is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and administered by the University of Maryland.
On May 23, de Sherbinin presented work on climate change-induced migration in Africa at a side event, “Addressing Climate Change, Disasters and Environmental Degradation: Development Solutions for Displacement in Africa,” held at United Nations headquarters in New York City. The event was part of the Africa Dialogue Series 2019, which is focusing on the theme, “Towards Durable Solutions for Forcibly Displaced Persons in Africa.″
Participants in the University of Colorado Boulder conference, “Climate Change, Human Migration, and Health,” May 20–21, 2019. CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo is second from the right in the back row, and former CIESIN research scientist Deborah Balk is third from the right in the second row.
More than 25 experts on climate change, human migration, and health gathered at the University of Colorado (CU) in Boulder May 20–21 for a mini-conference, “Climate Change, Human Migration and Health: Integrating Social and Environmental Data to Accelerate Innovative Science.″ Keynote speakers included former CIESIN research scientist Deborah Balk, who is now associate director of the City University of New York (CUNY) Institute for Demographic Research; and Jennifer Balch, assistant professor of geography, and Kris Karnauskus, associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, both from CU-Boulder. Each spoke from a particular perspective: Balk, from that of population; Balch, Earth observation; and Karnauskus, climate. The conference was supported and organized by the CU Population Center, the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), and CU-Boulder’s Institute of Behavioral Science, Grand Challenge and Earth Lab.
CIESIN research scientist Susana Adamo was one of the invited participants and presented a poster, “An Open Community Platform for Environment and Security Research and Development.” The poster describes the project, Data ANalytics and Tools for Ecosecurity (DANTE), led by Isciences with CIESIN and CASE Consultants International and funded by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). DANTE is developing an open source software toolkit for systematic monitoring, forecasting, and analysis of environmental stressors and their impacts on security. Adamo also serves as lead project scientist for the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), a role previously held by Balk.
Geographers and other experts from around the world met in Washington DC April 3–7 for the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). Three panels, organized by the AAG Specialty Groups on Population and Human Dimensions of Global Change, focused on the topic, ″environmental migration, current realities, and future prospects.″ Associate director for science applications Alex de Sherbinin gave one of 12 presented papers, summarizing efforts to model climate change-induced migration based on the World Bank′s 2018 Groundswell report. The project continues to examine climate impacts on crop and water resources and the ways in which they may influence internal migration in the future. Sophie Vanwambeke, a geographer visiting CIESIN for one year from UC Louvain in Belgium, and Sheng Miao, visiting for one year from East China Normal University in Shanghai, also participated in the conference.
The Socio-Ecological Synthesis Center (SESYNC) organized an innovative, international Boundary Spanning Symposium June 11–13 in Annapolis, Maryland. Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for Science Applications, gave an invited presentation, “Climate Change Hotspots Mapping and Migration as Adaptation,” and also discussed the use of data from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) in socio-ecological research. He examined spatial vulnerability assessment and modeling of climate migration to demonstrate how spatial data integration across the social and environmental sciences can help illuminate ways in which socio-environmental systems are under stress from climate change. The data integration and modeling methods behind the World Bank report, “Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration,” released in February 2018, were also discussed. Hosted by SESYNC in partnership with the National Science Foundation, Resources for the Future, and the University of Maryland, the international symposium brought together leaders, emerging scholars, and others interesting in innovating research and processes for solving socio-environmental problems.
Credit: Chandranath Basak
CIESIN senior research associate Pinki Mondal has been featured in a NASA Earthdata user profile published online May 24. The user profile is part of a regular series about users of NASA earth science data. Mondal combines remotely-sensed data with census and other data to study the effects of climate change on agricultural systems and communities. Her current research focuses on smallholder farms in tropical countries that can be especially vulnerable to climate variability and to impacts from socioeconomic factors such as urbanization and government policies. She utilizes microwave satellite data, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data, and high-resolution optical satellite data from a variety of sources to help characterize land use/land cover changes over time in relationship to climate and other factors.
For the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, Mondal has had lead responsibility for establishing the India Data Collection, which currently consists of the India Village-Level Geospatial Socio-Economic Data Set:1991, 2001 and the India Annual Winter Cropped Area, v1 (2001–2016). She also led development of the Global Summer Land Surface Temperature (LS) Grids, v1, and helped develop the Global Urban Heat Island (UHI) Data Set, v1 (2013), as well as other SEDAC data sets.
In August, Mondal will begin a position as assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.
CIESIN staff and colleagues have capped the end of 2017 and launched 2018 with several new publications on a range of topics. Senior research associate Pinki Mondal is a lead author of a study on long-term changes in mangrove extent in Sierra Leone. The West African country lost 25% of its mangroves between 1990 and 2016, the span of the analysis. Using remote sensing data, the study focuses on four estuaries—Scarcies, Sierra Leone, Yawri Bay, and Sherbro—to provide insight into mangrove management strategies that can support local livelihoods. Sylwia Trzaska, associate research scientist, and Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for Science Applications, are co-authors. The work was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and conducted in collaboration with Tetra Tech. The paper appears in the journal Sensors, as part of a special issue, “Remote Sensing of Mangrove Ecosystems,” edited by Chandra Giri, an alumnus of CIESIN now with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Alex de Sherbinin is also co-author of a new global study of heat waves appearing in Environmental Research Letters, among the first research to include humidity as a critical factor in assessing heat stress impacts. The lead authors are Ethan Coffel and Radley Horton of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). The study utilizes data available from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN—Global Population Projection Grids Based on SSPs, v1 (2010 – 2100)—to quantify the number of people who may be exposed to extreme heat stress in the latter half of this century under different scenarios of development (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, or SSPs).
Senior digital archivist Robert Downs has three new publications on various data management topics. He authored the chapter, “Enabling the Reuse of Geospatial Information,” in the book, GeoValue: The Socioeconomic Value of Geospatial Information, edited by Jamie B. Kruse, Joep Crompvoets, and Francoise Pearlman and published in November 2017 by CRC Press. He is also a co-author, with Devan Ray Donaldson, Ingrid Dillo, and Sarah Ramdeen, of a peer-reviewed article in the International Journal of Digital Curation on the perceived value of acquiring “data seals of approval,” an international standard for trusted digital repositories. Finally, he has authored the conference paper, “Implementing the Group on Earth Observations Data Management Principles: Lessons from a Scientific Data Center,” in The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences. This was based on his presentation at the 37th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment in Tshwane, South Africa in May 2017 about how the emerging set of data management principles developed by GEO applies to interdisciplinary data management at SEDAC.
In addition to sudden natural disasters such as hurricanes or flash floods, slow-moving climate change events such as drought can cause displacement and migration, explains CIESIN research scientist and demographer Susana Adamo in an interview for the radio show, “The Briefing Powered by Dartmouth,“ broadcast on SiriusXM Insight Channel 121. Speaking with the host, Mike Mastanduno, Dartmouth College dean of faculty and an expert in international relations, Adamo discusses current research and concerns about climate change and human migration. The program is airing Saturday, February 18, at 8 am EST with re-broadcasts February 19 at 6 am and 7 pm. “The Briefing” is a new weekly satellite radio show that aims to provide historical and factual perspectives on the week’s news. To hear an excerpt from Adamo’s interview, go here.
Announced at the World Economic Forum held January 25–29 in Davos, Switzerland, the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) produced by CIESIN and Yale University’s Center for Environmental Law and Policy (YCELP), in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, identifies Switzerland as first in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges. Iraq is ranked last. The EPI has been produced every two years since 2006. The 2012 EPI ranks 132 countries, using 22 indicators in ten major policy categories including air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity, and forest management.
For the first time a complementary index showing country improvement from 2000 to 2010, the Pilot Trend Environmental Performance Index (Trend EPI), was released. Latvia was ranked number one in the Trend EPI, with Russia in last place. The U.S., which is 49th in the EPI, was just 77th in the Trend EPI, implying few recent gains in addressing environmental issues.
Data sets making up the EPI were contributed from the International Energy Agency, remote sensing research groups at Battelle and University of Maryland, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and other entities. Lack of data in certain areas—in particular, waste management, toxic exposures, agricultural sustainability and water resources—continue to limit the ability of the EPI to contribute towards the understanding necessary to develop policies for safeguarding the environment.
The Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) has released a new data set, Effects of Climate Change on Global Food Production under SRES Emissions and Socio-Economic Scenarios. The data set was developed by scientists from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).
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