Magazine article Ecos

Maths Expertise Will Underpin National Greenhouse Maps

Magazine article Ecos

Maths Expertise Will Underpin National Greenhouse Maps

Article excerpt

Mathematical research is going to help create detailed land use maps that will enable Australia to estimate and better manage its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) and CSIRO's Mathematical and Information Sciences Division (CMIS) recently signed a three-year, $2.5 million contract to develop the mapping program under an ongoing research partnership. The relationship has already led to big advances in understanding historical nationwide patterns of land use changes.

The AGO estimates that around 30 per cent of Australia's human-induced greenhouse gas emissions come from activities like cropping, grazing, land clearing and forestry. This makes it important to map the extent and changes of different forms of land use. Such maps are an input to the AGO's National Carbon Accounting System, which operates one of the largest satellite monitoring programs in the world.

CMIS Chief, Murray Cameron, says the agreement extends a collaboration with an impressive track record. Since 1999, CMIS's Mathematics for Mapping and Monitoring group has worked with the AGO on its Land-cover Change Project that has produced maps that track land use change since 1972 to within 25 metres over the entire continent.

Using satellite images, digital elevation models and ground data, the team has developed technologies to transform large archives of data into information useful for environmental work. It is now being used by farmers, environmentalists and government teams. …

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