Why highlight observations
of coastal ecosystems?
bordering the world’s greatest water bodies, are among
the most important areas in the world to humans, and one
of the most sensitive to anthropogenic impact at local to
global scales. There is a clear need for information on
global and regional change in coastal areas. Collection
of in situ and remote sensing data must be improved and
associated data management, model production and communication
infrastructure developed to provide free and timely information
to developed and developing nations. Hence, the Global Terrestrial
Observing System (GTOS) has developed a Coastal Panel (C-GTOS)
in collaboration with other coastal programmes and international
of a Coastal Observing System
Substantial progress has been made developing and implementing
C-GTOS. The C-GTOS Strategic Design and Phase 1 Implementation
Plan has been published.
This is being followed by the initiation of a full Coastal
Panel, endorsed by the GTOS Steering Committee at its January
2006 meeting. C-GTOS, the Coastal
Global Ocean Observing System and other coastal programmes,
such as LOICZ, cooperated
in developing an Integrated Global Observing Strategy –
Theme. More recently, through the Global
Earth Observation System of Systems, C-GTOS has been
participating in the Coastal
Zone Community of Practice.
Development is underway on the five priority products for
the immediate implementation of C-GTOS. Here we highlight
two of these products.
Informatics and ecosystem
services in deltaic systems with respect to climate change
and dam impact
of digital maps is being developed demonstrating informatics
and spatial modelling methods for estimating ecological
functions in deltas. Initial implementation includes the
modelling and mapping of a limited group of deltas and building
a consortium to promote data sharing, international cooperation
and financing. John Kineman (University of Colorado) has
led this work, initiating the World Deltas Network (WDN)
and preliminary activities, working with George Hart and
Jim Coleman (Louisiana State University) and the Global
Land Cover Network (GLCN). See the WDN
1. The launch
of the WDN website by Kineman , and the development of the
World Deltas Database (WDD),
designed by Hart, which incorporates data from Coleman,
Brau, Hart and Hu.
2. An initial
study of 12 deltas using geophysical analysis to produce
delta extent maps (see WDN website).
3. A pilot
study for the Nile Delta, Egypt, is underway, including
mosaicking of satellite data from three decades of data
collection (1980, 1990 and 2000). These datasets will be
made available for download from the WDN website.
analysis of ecosystem services and vulnerability in the
Nile Delta is underway, using the Land Cover Classification
System (LCCS) of FAO and UNEP.
are underway to broaden the information on deltas. The Deltas
Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON)
is one important site for this information.
Management of coastal
zone conservation and cultural sites
A sustained network of in situ monitoring
sites is required to support regional and global coastal
observing systems. C-GTOS will address this need through
identification and support of relevant existing monitoring
initiatives occurring at coastal sites with conservation
or cultural value.
of a framework paper on the development of sustainable network
of coastal observation sites of conservation and cultural
significance. Christian, R. R., and S. Mazzilli. 2007. Defining
the coast and sentinel ecosystems for coastal observations
of global change. Hydrobiologia 577: 55-70.
identification of networks and location of potentially suitable
individual sites. This has been done for the Mediterranean
region in collaboration with MedWet,
and other national programmes for coastal lagoons.
with the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention to establish
a Memorandum of Understanding for a type 2 partnership.
The GTOS Secretariat held a side event on Building bridges
between observing systems and international conventions
in coastal areas at Ramsar COP 9.
in night-time lights from 1992-93 to 2000 for Italy
SOURCE: Chris Elvidge of NOAA.
Cyan = background – no lights and
offshore (land/sea mask applied).
Black = bright lights detected in both
time periods (at or near saturation).
Red = Lights much brighter in 2000.
Yellow = New lights in 2000.
Light grey = Dim lighting detected in both
time periods – little change in brightness.
Blue = Lights dimmer or missing in 2000
(relative to 1992-93).
Expert Panel also identified initial short-term objectives
and the products needed to establish the monitoring process.
An initial narrow range of discrete elements have been selected
to structure early activities of C-GTOS, namely:
an inventory of sites appropriate for observations and analyses
of delivery of water, solids and nutrients to coastal waters.
a functional typology of the coast and evaluate the distribution
of functional units. This recognizes that different environmental
issues may have unique zones of influence on observed responses.
and improve the World Resources Institute Earth Trends coastal
habitat maps and link them to land use and land cover.
and analyse the distribution of coastal population, urbanization
and land use, and their effects in the coastal zone.
and analyse the distribution of conservation and cultural
sites in the coastal zone.
These short-term products are designed to provide clear
evidence of the value of C-GTOS. Longer-term products will
then be developed once a community of observing sites is
established and users become more engaged.
Members of the C-GTOS
Robert E. BOWEN
Robert R. CHRISTIAN
David M. CLARK
Stephen John DE MORA
Paul M. DIGIACOMO
Michael K. ORBACH