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Species-specific, pan-European diameter increment models based on data of 2.3 million trees

Forest Ecosystems, Vol. 5, No. 1. (3 April 2018),


[Background] Over the last decades, many forest simulators have been developed for the forests of individual European countries. The underlying growth models are usually based on national datasets of varying size, obtained from National Forest Inventories or from long-term research plots. Many of these models include country- and location-specific predictors, such as site quality indices that may aggregate climate, soil properties and topography effects. Consequently, it is not sensible to compare such models among countries, and it is often impossible to apply ...


Data sharing and the future of science

Nature Communications, Vol. 9, No. 1. (19 July 2018),


Who benefits from sharing data? The scientists of future do, as data sharing today enables new science tomorrow. Far from being mere rehashes of old datasets, evidence shows that studies based on analyses of previously published data can achieve just as much impact as original projects. [Excerpt] [...] data sharing [...] enables individual researchers to punch above their financial weight by making large, or expensive-to-collect, datasets available to all. In this way, data sharing opens hence unforeseen avenues of research. [...] Sharing ...


A procedure to obtain a refined European land use/cover map

Journal of Land Use Science, Vol. 8, No. 3. (September 2013), pp. 255-283,


Available land use/cover maps differ in their spatial extent and in their thematic, spatial, and temporal resolutions. Due to the costs of producing such maps, there is usually a trade-off between spatial extent and resolution. The only European-wide, consistent, and multi-temporal land use/cover dataset available is the CORINE Land Cover (CLC) map. Despite the value and usefulness of CLC, its minimum mapping unit (MMU) of 25 hectares considerably limits its applications at large scales of analysis. Our objective was to improve ...


Many roads to convergence

Science, Vol. 361, No. 6398. (13 July 2018), pp. 125-126,


Many plants form specialized symbiotic root structures, called nodules, that harbor beneficial associations with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the genera Rhizobium or Frankia (see the photo). How this nitrogen-fixing root nodule (NFN) symbiosis arose repeatedly during plant evolution is an age-old mystery: It shows signatures of convergence (the repeated emergence of similarity during evolution) yet builds on similar gene sets in phylogenetically distant plants. On page 144 of this issue, Griesmann et al. (1) sequenced the genomes of 10 plant species to ...


When persistence doesn't pay

Science, Vol. 361, No. 6398. (13 July 2018), pp. 124-125,


People routinely make bad decisions. Far from being random, however, these bad decisions are often predictable, occurring reliably in specific contexts (1–3). One set of such suboptimal decisions are cognitive biases, wherein individuals make decisions that predictably violate rationality or their own best interests without a logical reason for doing so (4). One such bias is the sunk cost bias, in which individuals invest more time or resources in an outcome than it is worth given the potential gain, presumably because ...


Assessing the influence of roads on fire ignition: does land cover matter?

Fire, Vol. 1, No. 2. (09 July 2018), 24,


In human-affected fire environments, assessing the influence of human activities on the spatial distribution of wildfire ignitions is of paramount importance for fire management planning. Previous studies have shown that roads have significant effects on fire ignition. However, since different land cover classes are subject to different levels of ignition risk, roads in different land cover classes may differently affect fire ignition. The aim of this paper is thus to assess the influence of roads on fire ignition in selected land ...


Kernel-based measures of association

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Statistics, Vol. 10, No. 2. (March 2018), e1422,


Measures of association have been widely used for describing statistical relationships between two sets of variables. Traditionally, such association measures focus on specialized settings. Based on an in‐depth summary of existing common measures, we present a general framework for association measures that unifies existing methods and novel extensions based on kernels, including practical solutions to computational challenges. Specifically, we introduce association screening and variable selection via maximizing kernel‐based association measures. We also develop a backward dropping procedure for feature selection when ...


Vegetation Fire and Smoke Pollution Warning and Advisory System (VFSP-WAS): concept note and expert recommendations

Vol. 235 (2018)


This concept note contains the expert recommendations resulting from discussions at the international workshop on Forecasting Emissions from Vegetation Fires and their Impacts on Human Health and Security in South-East Asia, which was hosted by the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG), Jakarta, from 29 August to 1 September 2016. The workshop was organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Interdisciplinary Biomass Burning Initiative (IBBI) in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction/International Wildfire Preparedness ...


Medium-range, monthly, and seasonal prediction for Europe and the use of forecast information

Journal of Climate, Vol. 19, No. 23. (December 2006), pp. 6025-6046,


Operational probabilistic (ensemble) forecasts made at ECMWF during the European summer heat wave of 2003 indicate significant skill on medium (3–10 day) and monthly (10–30 day) time scales. A more general “unified” analysis of many medium-range, monthly, and seasonal forecasts confirms a high degree of probabilistic forecast skill for European temperatures over the first month. The unified analysis also identifies seasonal predictability for Europe, which is not yet realized in seasonal forecasts. Interestingly, the initial atmospheric state appears to be important ...


No place for bullies in science

Nature, Vol. 559, No. 7713. (10 July 2018), pp. 151-151,


High-profile allegations of bullying at a German research institute highlight the need for better systems to protect young scientists. [Excerpt] [...] In Nature’s opinion, young researchers there have been let down over the years. These researchers say the institute and its parent body, the Max Planck Society — also one of the world’s leading research organizations — failed to control the situation in a timely manner. It is hard to disagree. [\n] Most scientific institutions in Germany — including the Max Planck ...


Resilience of networks with community structure behaves as if under an external field

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, No. 27. (03 July 2018), pp. 6911-6915,


[Significance] Much work has focused on phase transitions in complex networks in which the system transitions from a resilient to a failed state. Furthermore, many of these networks have a community structure, whose effects on resilience have not yet been fully understood. Here, we show that the community structure can significantly affect the resilience of the system in that it removes the phase transition present in a single module, and the network remains resilient at this transition. In particular, we show that ...


Assessing nature's contributions to people

Science, Vol. 359, No. 6373. (18 January 2018), pp. 270-272,


A major challenge today and into the future is to maintain or enhance beneficial contributions of nature to a good quality of life for all people. This is among the key motivations of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a joint global effort by governments, academia, and civil society to assess and promote knowledge of Earth's biodiversity and ecosystems and their contribution to human societies in order to inform policy formulation. One of the more recent key ...


Negligent and intentional fires in Portugal: spatial distribution characterization

Science of The Total Environment, Vol. 624 (May 2018), pp. 424-437,


[Highlights] [::] Average fire size is much higher for intentional than for negligent fires. [::] Incidence of negligent and intentional fires has different distribution patterns. [::] Higher drivers' influence for intentional fires, burnt area and in the south region. [::] Human's drivers and altitude are the most important for fire ignitions. [::] Negligent (intentional) fires burn more forest and agricultural (human) areas. [Abstract] In the European context, Portugal is the country with the highest number of wildfires and the second with more burnt area. The vast majority of ...


Remote sensing techniques to assess active fire characteristics and post-fire effects

International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 15, No. 3. (2006), 319,


Space and airborne sensors have been used to map area burned, assess characteristics of active fires, and characterize post-fire ecological effects. Confusion about fire intensity, fire severity, burn severity, and related terms can result in the potential misuse of the inferred information by land managers and remote sensing practitioners who require unambiguous remote sensing products for fire management. The objective of the present paper is to provide a comprehensive review of current and potential remote sensing methods used to assess fire ...


A new European settlement map from optical remotely sensed data

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, Vol. 9, No. 5. (May 2016), pp. 1978-1992,


An application of a general methodology for processing very high-resolution imagery to produce a European Settlement Map (ESM) in support of policy-makers is presented. The process mapped around 10 million km2 of the European continent. The input image data are satellite SPOT-5/6 pan-sharpened multispectral images of 2.5- and 1.5-m spatial resolution, respectively. This is the first time that remote sensing technology demonstrates capability to produce a continental information layer using 2.5-m input images. Moreover, it is the highest resolution continental map ...


Inter-sensor comparison of built-up derived from Landsat, Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and SPOT5/SPOT6 over selected cities



In the last 5 years, several information layers describing human settlements were developed within the Global Human Settlement infrastructure of the Joint Research Centre using Earth Observation data. Each layer was derived from a different satellite (with different various spatial resolutions and radiometric properties) and from images acquired at different time stamps. The next step is to exploit the synergies between the different sensors and possibly integrate the information layers within a single product. To enable those future developments, it is ...


Switching on the Big Burn of 2017

Fire, Vol. 1, No. 1. (05 June 2018), 17,


Fuel, aridity, and ignition switches were all on in 2017, making it one of the largest and costliest wildfire years in the United States (U.S.) since national reporting began. Anthropogenic climate change helped flip on some of these switches rapidly in 2017, and kept them on for longer than usual. Anthropogenic changes to the fire environment will increase the likelihood of such record wildfire years in the coming decades. The 2017 wildfires in the U.S. constitute part of a shifting baseline ...


High-resolution mapping of global surface water and its long-term changes

Nature, Vol. 540, No. 7633. (7 December 2016), pp. 418-422,


The location and persistence of surface water (inland and coastal) is both affected by climate and human activity and affects climate, biological diversity and human wellbeing. Global data sets documenting surface water location and seasonality have been produced from inventories and national descriptions, statistical extrapolation of regional data and satellite imagery, but measuring long-term changes at high resolution remains a challenge. Here, using three million Landsat satellite images, we quantify changes in global surface water over the past 32 years at ...


Wildfire–vegetation dynamics affect predictions of climate change impact on bird communities

Ecography, Vol. 41, No. 6. (July 2018), pp. 982-995,


Community‐level climate change indicators have been proposed to appraise the impact of global warming on community composition. However, non‐climate factors may also critically influence species distribution and biological community assembly. The aim of this paper was to study how fire–vegetation dynamics can modify our ability to predict the impact of climate change on bird communities, as described through a widely‐used climate change indicator: the community thermal index (CTI). Potential changes in bird species assemblage were predicted using the spatially‐explicit species assemblage ...


Triggers of tree mortality under drought

Nature, Vol. 558, No. 7711. (27 June 2018), pp. 531-539,


Severe droughts have caused widespread tree mortality across many forest biomes with profound effects on the function of ecosystems and carbon balance. Climate change is expected to intensify regional-scale droughts, focusing attention on the physiological basis of drought-induced tree mortality. Recent work has shown that catastrophic failure of the plant hydraulic system is a principal mechanism involved in extensive crown death and tree mortality during drought, but the multi-dimensional response of trees to desiccation is complex. Here we focus on the ...


Citations must default to the online publication date

Nature, Vol. 558, No. 7711. (27 June 2018), pp. 519-519,


[Excerpt] With online delivery increasingly dominating scientific publishing, most long-established journals run papers in both print and online formats — but not necessarily simultaneously. This can affect how researchers are given scientific priority. [...] In our experience, the time lag between the two can be as long as 6 months. This might be crucial for annual research evaluations, for instance, when a paper is published online at the end of one year and in print the year after [...] ...


AI could threaten pharmaceutical patents

Nature, Vol. 558, No. 7711. (26 June 2018), pp. 519-519,


[Excerpt] Artificial intelligence could help to identify more-effective candidate drugs [...] A patent is granted only when a compound’s application can be classified as both ‘new’ and ‘invented’. A highly effective compound thrown up by an AI algorithm could indeed be new. Whether it is ‘invented’, however, is debatable. This is because the inventor might be considered as either the algorithm (so not a person) or its programmer. [...] ...


Robust relationship between air quality and infant mortality in Africa



Poor air quality is thought to be an important mortality risk factor globally, but there is little direct evidence from the developing world on how mortality risk varies with changing exposure to ambient particulate matter. Current global estimates apply exposure–response relationships that have been derived mostly from wealthy, mid-latitude countries to spatial population data, and these estimates remain unvalidated across large portions of the globe. Here we combine household survey-based information on the location and timing of nearly 1 million births ...


Compact or spread? A quantitative spatial model of urban areas in Europe since 1990

PLOS ONE, Vol. 13, No. 2. (28 February 2018), e0192326,


Changes in urban residential density represent an important issue in terms of land consumption, the conservation of ecosystems, air quality and related human health problems, as well as the consequential challenges for urban and regional planning. It is the decline of residential densities, in particular, that has often been used as the very definition of sprawl, describing a phenomenon that has been extensively studied in the United States and in Western Europe. Whilst these studies provide valuable insights into urbanization processes, ...


Enhancing the WorldClim data set for national and regional applications

Science of The Total Environment, Vol. 625 (June 2018), pp. 1628-1643,


[Highlights] [::] Regional adaptation of climate surfaces and future scenarios at fine resolution [::] Computationally efficient enhancement of WorldClim resources [::] Use of enhanced climatic data to estimate erosivity and species range shift [::] Use of climate data adapted to the geographical extent of the analysis [Abstract] Climatic change in the last few decades has had a widespread impact on both natural and human systems, observable on all continents. Ecological and environmental models using climatic data often rely on gridded data, such as WorldClim. The main aim ...


Science and Culture: math tools send legislators back to the drawing board

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, No. 26. (26 June 2018), pp. 6515-6517,


[UPDATE] On June 18, 2018, after this article went to press, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on two high-profile cases related to partisan gerrymandering. In effect, the rulings sidestepped the issue of when partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. Both cases—one concerning voting districts in Wisconsin, the other in Maryland—were sent back to lower courts. On June 25, the SCOTUS ruled on two other cases—in Texas and North Carolina—that will mostly let stand the use of purportedly gerrymandered maps. [Abstract] On ...


Human-Related Ignitions Increase the Number of Large Wildfires across U.S. Ecoregions

Fire, Vol. 1, No. 1. (27 January 2018), 4,


Large fires account for the majority of burned area and are an important focus of fire management. However, ‘large’ is typically defined by a fire size threshold, minimizing the importance of proportionally large fires in less fire-prone ecoregions. Here, we defined ‘large fires’ as the largest 10% of wildfires by ecoregion (n = 175,222 wildfires from 1992 to 2015) across the United States (U.S.). Across ecoregions, we compared fire size, seasonality, and environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed, fuel moisture, biomass, vegetation ...


Tree plantations displacing native forests: the nature and drivers of apparent forest recovery on former croplands in Southwestern China from 2000 to 2015

Biological Conservation, Vol. 222 (June 2018), pp. 113-124,


China is credited with undertaking some of the world's most ambitious policies to protect and restore forests, which could serve as a role model for other countries. However, the actual environmental consequences of these policies are poorly known. Here, we combine remote-sensing analysis with household interviews to assess the nature and drivers of land-cover change in southwestern China between 2000–2015, after China's major forest protection and reforestation policies came into effect. We found that while the region's gross tree cover grew ...


Microsoft’s purchase of GitHub leaves some scientists uneasy

Nature, Vol. 558, No. 7710. (15 June 2018), pp. 353-353,


They fear the online platform will become less open, but other researchers say the buyout could make GitHub more useful. [Excerpt] GitHub — a website that has become popular with scientists collaborating on research data and software — is to be acquired by Microsoft [...] [::Decentralized systems] Daniel Himmelstein, a data scientist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, says that GitHub is problematic for researchers, but that this has nothing to do with the Microsoft acquisition. GitHub hosts repositories of code or data ...


The biomass distribution on Earth

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, No. 25. (19 June 2018), pp. 6506-6511,


[Significance] The composition of the biosphere is a fundamental question in biology, yet a global quantitative account of the biomass of each taxon is still lacking. We assemble a census of the biomass of all kingdoms of life. This analysis provides a holistic view of the composition of the biosphere and allows us to observe broad patterns over taxonomic categories, geographic locations, and trophic modes. [Abstract] A census of the biomass on Earth is key for understanding the structure and dynamics of the biosphere. ...


Extreme heat waves under 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming

Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 13, No. 5. (01 May 2018), 054006,


Severe, extreme, and exceptional heat waves, such as those that occurred over the Balkans (2007), France (2003), or Russia (2010), are associated with increased mortality, human discomfort and reduced labour productivity. Based on the results of a very high-resolution global model, we show that, even at 1.5 °C warming, a significant increase in heat wave magnitude is expected over Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. Compared to a 1.5 °C world, under 2 °C warming the frequency of extreme heat waves would double over ...


Limiting global-mean temperature increase to 1.5–2 °C could reduce the incidence and spatial spread of dengue fever in Latin America

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, No. 24. (12 June 2018), pp. 6243-6248,


[Significance] This study is a multigeneral circulation model, multiscenario modeling exercise developed to quantify the dengue-related health benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5–2.0 °C above preindustrial levels in Latin America and the Caribbean. We estimate the impact of future climate change and population growth on the additional number of dengue cases and provide insights about the regions and periods most likely affected by changes in the length of the transmission season. Here, we show that future climate change may amplify dengue ...


Fuzzy set theory for predicting the potential distribution and cost-effective monitoring of invasive species

Ecological Modelling, Vol. 316 (2015), pp. 122-132,


The presence of invasive species has been predicted using species distribution models (SDMs) and presence-only data to assist environmental management. However, SDMs include substantial uncertainty and the lack of absence data hampers the use of probabilistic predictions. A non-statistical theoretical basis able to deal with uncertainty on which to model invasive species distributions with presence-only data is thus needed. Fuzzy set theory satisfies these two requirements but has been little used. This paper proposes a fuzzy modelling approach for predicting invasive ...


Fire effects on soil aggregation: a review

Earth-Science Reviews, Vol. 109, No. 1-2. (November 2011), pp. 44-60,


[Abstract] Fire can affect soil properties depending on a number of factors including fire severity and soil type. Aggregate stability (AS) refers to soil structure resilience in response to external mechanical forces. Many authors consider soil aggregation to be a parameter reflecting soil health, as it depends on chemical, physical and biological factors. The response of AS to forest fires is complex, since it depends on how fire has affected other related properties such as organic matter content, soil microbiology, water repellency ...


Evaluating the performance of different empirical rainfall erosivity (R) factor formulas using sediment yield measurements

CATENA, Vol. 169 (October 2018), pp. 195-208,


[Highlights] [::] R-factor calculation method impact on soil erosion modeling [::] Comparative analysis (numerical, spatial) of 9 empirical R-factor formulas [::] RUSLE implementation on a typical mountainous Mediterranean catchment [::] Application on two time scales (annual, multi-annual) per R-factor approximation [::] Indirect validation (per R-factor method modelled against measured sediment yield) [Abstract] The study aims to evaluate the performance of nine empirical rainfall erosivity (R) factor formulas at the Venetikos River catchment, Northwestern Greece. The goal is to select the most appropriate one, for the accurate estimation of ...


Development of new open and free multi-temporal global population grids at 250 m resolution

In Proceedings of the 19th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science (2016)


Global population grids are increasingly required and used for countless applications in analysis, modeling, and policy-making. However, better and comparable global information requires improved geospatial data on population distribution and densities, in particular concerning temporal and spatial resolution and capacity for change assessment. [\n] This paper presents the development of improved global multi-temporal population grids, ...


Operating procedure for the production of the global human settlement layer from Landsat data of the epochs 1975, 1990, 2000, and 2014

Vol. 27741 EN (2016),


A new global information baseline describing the spatial evolution of the human settlements in the past 40 years is presented. It is the most spatially global detailed data available today dedicated to human settlements, and it shows the greatest temporal depth. The core processing methodology relies on a new supervised classification paradigm based on symbolic machine learning. The information is extracted from Landsat image records organized in four collections corresponding to the epochs 1975, 1990, 2000, and 2014. The experiment reported ...


Analysis of large fires in European Mediterranean landscapes: lessons learned and perspectives

Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 294 (April 2013), pp. 11-22,


[Abstract] Extreme fire events, also referred to as “megafires,” are not uncommon events on a global scale; they tend to happen a steady frequency in different parts of the world, although, at a local or regional scale, they constitute unique and severe fire episodes. Even if there is not a complete agreement on the term, megafires often refers to those fire events that cause catastrophic damages in terms of human casualties, economic losses, or both. In this article we analyze some of ...


Avaliação dos incêndios ocorridos entre 14 e 16 de outubro de 2017 em Portugal Continental - Relatório Final



[Excerpt] Os incêndios rurais que afetaram o território continental, nos dias 14, 15 e 16 de outubro de 2017, geraram um novo ambiente caracterizado simultaneamente de consternação, de impotência e de explicitação da fragilidade da nossa organização social. O ano de 2017 foi aliás pleno de episódios consumidores e destrutivos de áreas florestais, desde os incêndios de Pedrógão Grande até aos fogos que atingiram grandes áreas territoriais, afetando não só espaços florestais privados, como também áreas agrícolas, matas nacionais, infraestruturas empresariais, equipamentos municipais, instalações de turismo rural e ...


The many possible climates from the Paris Agreement’s aim of 1.5 °C warming

Nature, Vol. 558, No. 7708. (6 June 2018), pp. 41-49,


The United Nations’ Paris Agreement includes the aim of pursuing efforts to limit global warming to only 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. However, it is not clear what the resulting climate would look like across the globe and over time. Here we show that trajectories towards a ‘1.5 °C warmer world’ may result in vastly different outcomes at regional scales, owing to variations in the pace and location of climate change and their interactions with society’s mitigation, adaptation and vulnerabilities to climate change. ...


The contribution of small collections to species distribution modelling: a case study from Fuireneae (Cyperaceae)

Ecological Informatics, Vol. 42 (November 2017), pp. 67-78,


[Highlights] [::] Specimen data from small collections compliment those in large collections. [::] Small collections contribute to a more robust definition of a species habitat. [::] Species distribution models are impacted when small collections data are included. [Abstract] The recent and rapid digitization of biodiversity data from natural history collection (NHC) archives has enriched collections based data repositories; this data continues to inform studies of species' geographic distributions. Here we investigate the relative impact of plant data from small natural history collections (collections with < 100,000 ...


Defining the wildland-urban interface

Journal of Forestry, Vol. 105, No. 4. (2007), pp. 201-207,


Federal wildland fire policy in the United States has been substantially revised over the past 10 years and new emphasis has been given to the wildland–urban interface (WUI), which creates a need for information about the WUI's location and extent. We operationalized a policy definition published in the Federal Register (US Department of the Interior [.USDI.] and US Department of Agriculture [.USDA.]), 2001, Urban wildland interface communities within vicinity of federal lands that are at high risk from wildfire. Fed. Regist. ...


Mapping Canadian wildland fire interface areas

International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 27, No. 1. (2018), 1,


Destruction of human-built structures occurs in the ‘wildland–urban interface’ (WUI) – where homes or other burnable community structures meet with or are interspersed within wildland fuels. To mitigate WUI fires, basic information such as the location of interface areas is required, but such information is not available in Canada. Therefore, in this study, we produced the first national map of WUI in Canada. We also extended the WUI concept to address potentially vulnerable industrial structures and infrastructure that are not traditionally ...


Modeling fire ignition patterns in Mediterranean urban interfaces

Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment (17 May 2018),


The rapid growth of built-up areas and infrastructure in the Mediterranean environment has resulted in the expansion of urban interfaces where fire can ignite and spread. Within this context, there is a need to understand spatial patterns of ignition distribution and the relative importance of influencing drivers. In response to this need we developed an analysis of fire ignition patterns using human and biophysical explanatory variables by firstly developing two different linear models to assess patterns of fire ignition points in ...


Towards a philosophy of academic publishing

Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 48, No. 14. (02 November 2016), pp. 1401-1425,


This article is concerned with developing a philosophical approach to a number of significant changes to academic publishing, and specifically the global journal knowledge system wrought by a range of new digital technologies that herald the third age of the journal as an electronic, interactive and mixed-media form of scientific communication. The paper emerges from an Editors' Collective, a small New Zealand-based organisation comprised of editors and reviewers of academic journals mostly in the fields of education and philosophy. The paper ...


Land cover mapping from remotely sensed and auxiliary data for harmonized official statistics

ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, Vol. 7, No. 4. (21 April 2018), 157,


This paper describes a general framework alternative to the traditional surveys that are commonly performed to estimate, for statistical purposes, the areal extent of predefined land cover classes across Europe. The framework has been funded by Eurostat and relies on annual land cover mapping and updating from remotely sensed and national GIS-based data followed by area estimation. Map production follows a series of steps, namely data collection, change detection, supervised image classification, rule-based image classification, and map updating/generalization. Land cover area ...


Digital badges aim to clear up politics of authorship

Nature, Vol. 526, No. 7571. (28 September 2015), pp. 145-146,


Machine-readable system seeks to clearly explain who did what for a research paper. [Excerpt] An initiative that uses colourful ‘digital badges’ to denote different contributions to research aims to standardize and simplify the often-fraught business of detailing who did what on a scientific paper. [...] The 14 categories come from a related ‘digital taxonomies’ project, which last year brought together journal editors, funders and researchers to classify authors’ contributions as a set of standard roles. [...] ...


Scientists aim to smoke out wildfire impacts

Science, Vol. 360, No. 6392. (01 June 2018), pp. 948-949,


Scientists this summer are taking to the air in an ambitious effort to better understand the chemistry, behavior, and health impacts of wildfire smoke. The flights in an instrument-packed C-130 airplane belonging to the National Science Foundation will be followed in 2019 by flights on a NASA DC-8 research jet by scientists with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The two planes will fly through plumes of wildfire smoke, with a focus on the western United States, where wildfires ...


Geostatistical tools to map the interaction between development aid and indices of need

No. 49. (2018)


In order to meet and assess progress towards global sustainable development goals (SDGs), an improved understanding of geographic variation in population wellbeing indicators such as health status, wealth and access to resources is crucial, as the equitable and efficient allocation of international aid relies on knowing where funds are needed most. Unfortunately, in many low-income countries, detailed, reliable and timely information on the spatial distribution and characteristics of intended aid recipients are rarely available. Furthermore, lack of information on the past ...


The role of the permanent wilting point in controlling the spatial distribution of precipitation

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, No. 22. (29 May 2018), pp. 5692-5697,


[Significance] One basic distinction between land and ocean is that the land can dry out. We show that this is of fundamental importance for the precipitation distribution over land as it brings precipitation from the precipitating region to the nonprecipitating region. This process prevents the land–atmosphere system from sustaining precipitation over the same region and thus acts against drought or the formation of desert. Paradoxically, although dry atmospheres are known to hamper moist convection, drying the soil to its permanent wilting point ...

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