Planet Action support projects that investigate and assess climate change related issues in the following domains:
Education and raising awareness are important in fighting or mitigating Climate Change. On a local basis, many projects include an educational or outreach dimension. Their purpose is to illustrate local problems and to explain them with a view to helping other populations, as needed.
The conservation of biodiversity is a global priority and strategy as it is a fundamental building block of the services that ecosystems deliver to human societies. Ecologists, naturalists, and other scientists have been researching and addressing the global declines in biodiversity since the mid 20-century, but today, many ecosystems are rapidly changing due to human pressure and climate change. This combination of land use changes and the rise of temperature are altering the timing of periodic biological events such as the onset of animal migration or plant blooming, in response to climatic conditions. Furthermore, the spread of exotic or alien species, are likely to limit the capability of some species to migrate and therefore will accelerate species loss.
For examples of image analyses conducted in biodiversity & ecosystem-related projects:
- Mekong: click here
- Everglades: click here
Desertification is the persistent degradation of dryland ecosystems by variations in climate and human activities. It contributes to global climate change by releasing to the atmosphere carbon stored in dryland vegetation and soils. The biodiversity in drylands is fundamental for soil conservation and for the regulation of surface water and local climate. The increase of temperatures levels can have a negative impact through increased loss of water from soil and reduced rainfall in drylands thus diminishing biodiversity.
Climate change and forests are intrinsically linked. On the one hand, changes in global climate are already stressing forests through higher average temperatures, altered precipitation patterns and more frequent and extreme weather events. On the other hand, trees and forests help removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by converting it during photosynthesis to carbon, which they then "store" in the form of wood and vegetation (a process referred to as "carbon sequestration"), thus playing a major role in mitigating climate change.
Deforestation mainly in tropical areas is responsible for approximately 20% of world’s greenhouse gases emissions. Reducing emissions from the tropical deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries has emerged as a new approach to complement ongoing climate policies. The idea consists in providing financial compensations in exchange of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
For an example of image analysis in the framework of a REDD-related project, click here.
For an example of image analysis in a reforestation project, click here.
Glaciers are recognized as being among the most sensitive indicators of climate change as an increasing rate of ice loss has been observed since the mid 1980s. Less snow and sea ice are leading to more of the sun's heat being absorbed by the land and the polar oceans, which in turn may speed up global climate change.
The decline of snow cover, sea ice, glaciers, permafrost and lake ice will affect millions of people across the world. Impacts are likely to include significant changes in the availability of water supplies for drinking and agriculture, rising sea levels affecting low lying coasts and islands, an increase in hazards such as subsidence of currently frozen land, avalanches and floods from the build up of potentially unstable glacial lakes. The UN Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that 40 per cent of the world's population could be affected by loss of snow and glaciers on the mountains of Asia, as well as communities in the Alps to the Andes and the Pyrenees.
For an example of image analysis addressing ice-melting, click here
Climate change will cause impacts in human lives. Wet areas will get wetter, and drier climates are getting drier, affecting the health of millions of people around the world by dramatically increasing heat-related deaths caused by heart failure, respiratory disorders, allergies, asthma, the spread of infectious diseases and malnutrition from crop failures. Developing countries would suffer a disproportionate share of the extra health burden as many of the most important diseases in these countries, such as diarrhea and malnutrition, are highly sensitive to climate.
Additionally, a great number of people will also be at risk of flooding due to the increase of coastal storm surges and the rise of sea levels. Furthermore, water supplies will be affected by increased draughts and the melting of snow and glacial "fossil" ice. Parts of China and India, where vast population centers rely on melting ice from the Himalayas for their supply of drinking water, are highly vulnerable, and people living west of the Andes are also likely to suffer from a dwindling water supply once the glaciers have disappeared.
Oceans cover 71 percent of our planet and are the largest heat sink. They help to absorb, store and then slowly release large quantities of heat influencing the planets climate. Oceans are at the core of the climate change crisis as they are affected by climate change and they in turn affect the climate. Climate change impacts on oceans will have a direct effect on coastal populations, with sea level rising, hurricanes getting stronger, and biodiversity changing due to long term acidification and temperature rise. Indirect effects are not the least as we begin to understand the oceans key role in the control of the timing and magnitude of change in the climate system, through absorption of heat and carbon dioxide. Changes in ocean circulation may indeed have a radical impact on ground temperature and humidity or the redistribution of rain falls, although the magnitude of these changes cannot be foreseen yet.
For an example of image analysis addressing coral reefs, click here
Changes to the Earth’s climate will have significant impacts on water resources around the world. Climatic changes have been linked to global hydrologic cycle changes, risks of flooding and drought are expected to be high, modifications to water quality and quantity are anticipated, and current water infrastructure, such as dams, hydro-electric stations, and irrigation channels will be affected. Droughts and floods may become more frequent in different regions at different times, and dramatic changes in snowfall and snowmelt are expected in mountainous areas. Higher temperatures will also affect water quality in ways that are not well understood. Sound water resource management is fundamental to effective climate change adaptation.