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China’s Climate Change Research Project Selected for UN “Projects to Watch”
 Date: 2014-09-03  Page Views:

The United Nations (UN) announced the winners of the “Big Data Climate Challenge” on September 2, revealing that a project titled “Big Earth Observation Data for Climate Change Research” by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), was selected for “Projects to Watch”, projects designed to highlight particularly innovative uses of big data in emerging topics and geographic regions. Among the seven “Projects to Watch” in this competition, the RADI project was the only one from China.

The Big Data Climate Challenge is a global competition hosted by United Nations Global Pulse, an initiative of the Secretary-General on big data. The Challenge was launched in May 2014 to unearth fresh evidence of the economic dimensions of climate change around the world using data and analytics. Submissions were received from 40 countries, representing more than 20 topics from forestry, biodiversity and transportation to renewable energy and green data centers.

Two overall Big Data Climate Challenge winners and seven “Projects to Watch” were selected by a high-level Advisory Board and Technical Committee of global experts in climate science, sustainable development and big data. Submissions were evaluated on their use of big data, economic relevance, stakeholder engagement, originality and scalability. Both of the Big Data Climate Challenge Winners and the “Projects to Watch” will be featured on the UN Climate Summit website.

"Big Earth Observation Data for Climate Change Research” originated from a National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) project titled “Earth Observation for Sensitive Factors of Global Change: Mechanisms and Methodologies” (2008—2013), which was undertaken by RADI in partnership with other Chinese institutes and universities. Prof. GUO Huadong from RADI serves as the chief scientist for this project.

Based on huge and abundant datasets obtained from four synchronous satellite-aerial-ground observation experiments on the Tibetan Plateau and the Bohai Rim of China, the project aims to explore new theories, technologies and methods for climate change studies through Earth observation data; develop an assimilation model using multi-source heterogeneous spatial data; acquire characteristics of the sensitive factors of climate change; develop a simulation platform for regional climate change studies; and conduct conceptual research on global change scientific satellites and observation stations on the Moon.

The experiment has reaped fruitful results. The datasets obtained from the experiments contribute to national policy-making in climate change and sustainable development. The project also led to the publication of 443 research papers, among which 202 are SCI indexed and many widely cited. Six articles were especially cited by the IPCC 5th Assessment Report and made academic contributions to climate change research.

It is obvious that an initiative addressing climate change is able to generate benefits. Recently, more countries and enterprises have realized the economic opportunities brought by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening climate resilience. Governments have started to benefit from dimensions such as sustainable low carbon economies, stable infrastructure construction, emerging markets, job security, energy independence, women’s rights, clean air, and the improvement of public health.

Hence, the Big Data Climate Challenge will strengthen the case for climate action by sourcing projects from around the world that use Big Data and analytics to highlight the economic dimensions of climate change, revealing new solutions and opportunities. This initiative will help build public understanding of how Big Data can reveal critical insights for strengthening resilience and mitigating emissions.

Please visit the website of  UN Climate Summit 2014 for more information.

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