How GIS is Used to Fight Climate Change

GIS-technology is a valuable tool to mitigate the effects of Climate Change. A GIS-based framework is necessary at each level of monitoring climate change.

How GIS is Used to Fight Climate Change
How GIS is Used to Fight Climate Change

How GIS is Used to Fight Climate Change

GIS-technology is a valuable tool to mitigate the effects of Climate Change. 

Be it a natural phenomenon or a human-made disaster; geospatial technology can track everything which affects our environment. Apart from agencies and organisations like NASA and ISRO, various government level projects and researchers also use satellite images, drone surveying and other GIS-related tools to monitor the surroundings.  

A GIS-based framework is necessary at each level of monitoring climate change. From the Deforestation analysis to rising sea level or emissions assessment, everything which affect the climate of Earth could be studied using GIS technology. Staff members of Westchester County GIS In New York State have created an online Green Map to raise awareness about Global Warming. In this Green Map, residents can get information about green practices and recycling centres. The service use ESRI's ArcIMS software combined with technology from Green Map System. 

In November 2018, the Fourth National Climate Assessment was released by the Global Change Research Program. It highlighted some of the vulnerable issues like poor air quality, low crop production, rise in food and waterborne diseases and declining population of underwater creatures because of ocean acidification. It also predicted an increase in heat-related deaths in the U.S. 

GIS is also helping in the preparation of almost all the wind power facility layouts and locating the best site for wind power plant installation to get maximum productivity. Iberdrola Renewables, the world's largest developer of wind power, investigated which technologies would help organise and monitor a large amount of data available. And it concluded that GIS from ESRI is the best solution for their company and business. 

Also Read: Satellite imagery is being used to map coral reefs worldwide

This is not all About ESRI and ArcGIS, researchers around the world are taking the help of vegetation Indices to find the density of canopy over a time period and the effect of weather and climate change on Vegetation and land use pattern. NDVI ( Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) has become a common term now. NDVI is a relationship between NIR (Near Infra-Red) band and Red band for canopy cover. Healthy Vegetation has higher reflectivity in the NIR band as compared to other wavelengths due to a considerable amount of chlorophyll. Landsat and Sentinal-2 have the required bands with the NIR and the Red.

NDVI is the most common index that analysts use in remote sensing.NDVI is the most common index that analysts use in remote sensing.

On relating NDVI with various climatic factors, one could find out the effect of climate change on Vegetation over a period. According to NASA, NDVI is a good indicator of drought. A poor reflection in the NIR band indicates low quality of plant with the scarcity of water and nutrition. It acts as an alert, and proper measures could be taken on time to prevent further loss. 

Also Read: Role of GIS in Environment Protection

NDWI (Normalized Difference Water Index) is the most suitable index for water body mapping. NDWI use different wavelengths to examine water-quality and present it in the form of graphs and maps where higher value means sufficient moisture and vice verse. The reflected NIR radiation and visible green light highlights the presence of open water features and avoids the presence of soil and Vegetation. 

Temperature assessment using GIS

NASA once revealed that the Earth's average surface temperature has risen by 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit from the late 19th century. GIS helps in locating the areas which have extremely higher or extremely lower temperatures as compared to other parts of the globe. GIS-based models show how natural atmospheric processes, warming climate, change in land-cover and industrialisation will have a long term effect on the ecology, wildlife and global warming process. 

NASA's GISS ( Goddard Institute for Space Studies) page is about the surface temperature analysis, which is Updated each month through an automatic procedure. You can get information about Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature Change, Annual Mean Temperature Change over Land and over Ocean Annual Mean Temperature Change for Three Latitude Bands and Hemispheres etc. from here. 

Floods, droughts, heatwaves and hurricanes are a result of melting glaciers, deforestation and improper land use and over mining. Remote sensing data and satellite imagery-based hazard maps keep the concerned authorities informed about any upcoming disaster. 

Various phenomenon taking place in glaciers, oceans and high mountain peaks could only be monitored via GIS and Remote Sensing. Scientists and researchers study these processes and warn us about upcoming events. Simplified maps and data are utilised by various organisations to mitigate the effects of climate change at the global level.