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International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project

Project Description
The purpose of the International Satellite Land-Surface Climatology Project (ISLSCP) is to use the relationship that exists between current satellite measurements at the earth's surface, related particularly to vegetation cover, and to establish a 20-year homogeneous data set of quantities that characterize the state of the surface. Such a data set is required to increase our understanding of the interactions linking land-surface properties and the earth's climate.

The idea of the ISLSC Project has two roots in the World Climate Programme. First, the use of time series of satellite data to monitor seasonal and long-term variations in land use and vegetation cover, in order to assess quantitatively the changes in the structure of the surface which occur either by man's action or as an impact of climate variability. Second the inference from satellite imagery of quantities needed either to improve upon the parameterization of land-surface/atmosphere interactions in climate models, or to generate input parameters for climate models.

The ISLSC Project involves a series of sub-projects which concentrate on specific geographic locations. The first effort (Inter-Disciplinary Studies-Land Surface Climatology Project: IDS-LSCP) was designed to correlate historic satellite data with current satellite data and ground truth experiments in order to detect any long-term change in the land surface resulting from climate or human activities. The area of interest was in the southwest United States and in the Sonoran Desert of northern Mexico.

The second effort involved a field experiment (First ISLSCP FIELD EXPERIMENT: FIFE), which was designed to correlate existing satellite data and ground truth data in an effort to detect climate-related fluctuations or man-induced changes on the land surface. The FIFE site was located on the Konza Prairie in northeast Kansas. Another field experiment (Boral Ecosystem Atmosphere Study: BOREAS), using the same approach as in FIFE, is planned for two sites in the northern sections of the Canadian Provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Data from the FIFE was originally archived with the NASA Pilot Land Data System (PLDS). In 1994, the FIFE data was transferred to the Earth Observing System Data Information System (EOSDIS) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Data from the BOREAS will also be archived at ORNL DAAC as will other data from ISLSCP.
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