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Ascribing Societal Benefit to Environmental Observations of the Earth from Space: The Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR)

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  • Macauley, Molly

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

At the request of managers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this paper describes frameworks for and illustrates societal benefits associated with Earth observations from an experimental satellite known as the Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR). MISR is a unique camera that images Earth’s atmosphere and other characteristics simultaneously from nine angles. This multiangle perspective enhances our ability to measure and monitor dimensions of climate, weather, air quality, natural hazards, and the biosphere. “Societal benefit” in this paper generally refers to practical applications of data and data products beyond their intrinsic science merit. The paper has two objectives: to demonstrate how several societal benefit frameworks work, and to highlight some of these benefits in the case of MISR. Such consideration of practical benefits is timely, as their realization is becoming a prominent objective of future space remote sensing activities. At least four groups of experts recommend that societal benefit serve as a heavily weighted criterion for prioritizing Earth science research opportunities. The National Academy of Sciences’ forthcoming decadal survey for U.S. Earth science applications from space, the U.S. Climate Change Research Program, the framework for the international Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS), and the new world water program of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) all argue that societal benefit should be a determining factor in selecting the next Earth-observing spacecraft missions and instruments. If these recommendations are implemented, the frameworks and illustrations below may prove useful in guiding benefit descriptions in future space-derived Earth observation programs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-06-09.

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Date of creation: 08 Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-06-09

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Keywords: societal benefits; resource and environmental management; earth observations; earth science;

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  1. Thomas J. Teisberg & Rodney F. Weiher & Eugene Bardach, 2000. "Valuation of geomagnetic storm forecasts: An estimate of the net economic benefits of a satellite warning system," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 329-334.
  2. Jack Hirshleifer & John G. Riley, 1979. "The Analytics of Uncertainty and Information- An Expository Survey," UCLA Economics Working Papers 159, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Babcock, Bruce A., 1990. "Value of Weather Information in Market Equilibrium (The)," Staff General Research Papers 10592, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Richard M. Adams & Kelly J. Bryant & Bruce A. Mccarl & David M. Legler & James O'Brien & Andrew Solow & Rodney Weiher, 1995. "Value Of Improved Long-Range Weather Information," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 10-19, 07.
  5. Macauley, Molly & Vukovich, Fred, 2005. "Earth Science Remote Sensing Data - Contributions to Natural Resources Policymaking," Discussion Papers dp-05-35, Resources For the Future.
  6. Macauley, Molly K & Toman, Michael A, 1991. "Providing Earth Observation Data from Space: Economics and Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 38-41, May.
  7. Pfaff, Alexander S. P., 1999. "What Drives Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon?: Evidence from Satellite and Socioeconomic Data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 26-43, January.
  8. Bradford, David F & Kelejian, Harry H, 1977. "The Value of Information for Crop Forecasting in a Market System: Some Theoretical Issues," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 519-31, October.
  9. Roll, Richard, 1984. "Orange Juice and Weather," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 861-80, December.
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