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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Macauley, Molly, 2006. "Ascribing Societal Benefit to Environmental Observations of the Earth from Space: The Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR)," Discussion Papers dp-06-09, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-06-09
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruce A. Babcock, 1990. "The Value of Weather Information in Market Equilibrium," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 72(1), pages 63-72.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Roll, Richard, 1984. "Orange Juice and Weather," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 861-880, December.
    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. 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.
    7. Hirshleifer, J & Riley, John G, 1979. "The Analytics of Uncertainty and Information-An Expository Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 1375-1421, December.
    8. 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, July.
    9. Babcock, Bruce A., 1990. "Value of Weather Information in Market Equilibrium (The)," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10592, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    10. David F. Bradford & Harry H. Kelejian, 1977. "The Value of Information for Crop Forecasting in a Market System: Some Theoretical Issues," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 519-531.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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