• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Changes in land surface water dynamics since the 1990s and relation to population pressure

Geophysical Research Letters (2012)

Prigent C, Papa F, Aires F, Jimenez C, Rossow W B and Matthews E (eds)

DOI: 10.1029/2012GL051276

Vol 39, L08403

17 articles


[1] We developed a remote sensing approach based on multi-satellite observations, which provides an unprecedented estimate of monthly distribution and area of land-surface open water over the whole globe. Results for 1993 to 2007 exhibit a large seasonal and inter-annual variability of the inundation extent with an overall decline in global average maximum inundated area of 6% during the fifteen-year period, primarily in tropical and subtropical South America and South Asia. The largest declines of open water are found where large increases in population have occurred over the last two decades, suggesting a global scale effect of human activities on continental surface freshwater: denser population can impact local hydrology by reducing freshwater extent, by draining marshes and wetlands, and by increasing water withdrawals.

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