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The table below lists the main terrestrial carbon products that are envisioned during the initial period. The raw data originate from different agencies (satellite and in situ, different countries), and the preparation of individual products may require access to one or more other data types or input products. Also, the data and products exist at various levels, from raw observations to synthesised high level products generated by incorporating lower level products into models.

Products for the initial period (3-5 years) +

Products (digital georeferenced)
Spatial extent
Temporal frequency
Land cover Land cover types and change
* Global and
* Continental
*Annual to seasonal
* 5 year
Land cover Continuous fields Global Annual
Biomass 4 Biomass density Regional and biome-specific Annual
Seasonal growth cycle Leaf area index * Region- and site- specific (campaigns)
* Global
Seasonal growth cycle Growing season duration * Region- and site- specific (campaigns)
* Global
Fires Burned area
* Continental
* Global
Fires 4 Burned biomass
* Continental
* Global
Solar radiation 5 SW solar irradiance Global Daily
Surface atmospheric fluxes CO2 flux and associated tower measurements
Network of sites Sub-daily
Atmospheric concentration of CO2 and other gases Trace gas concentration
Network of sites Weekly (or less)
Ecosystem productivity 6 NPP * Region- and site- specific (campaigns)
* Continental
* Global
Ecosystem productivity 6 NEP * Region- and site- specific (campaigns)
* Continental
* Global


1 The table presents an overview of major products for terrestrial carbon estimation that are needed for the TCO initiative. Most of these employ satellite data. Other observations or products are also needed but not listed here. They include meteorological products, soil databases, and others.

2 Many of the above products are now produced by space agencies, research projects, or observation networks. Most of the products are being continually improved through product validation, supporting research and model development, and the reprocessing of archived data. The agencies and projects involved in these typically have specific plans for improving the products. Importantly, new programs are now being developed in various countries that will make further progress in these areas.

3 Where different geographic areas are shown (spatial extent), the quality and documentation of the products is higher at the site and regional levels. The improvements of global products hinges on progress being made through regional or campaign initiatives.

4 Current limitation is lack of consistent measurements over large areas; progress depends on improved satellite measurements.

5 Current products have coarse spatial and temporal resolution.

6 Experimental ecosystem productivity maps have been generated for specific areas and years, using the above products as input. The NPP (annual gross carbon uptake) and NEP (annual source/sink distribution) products are presently model- dependent and are also limited by the quality of the existing input products. Plans are in place to generate global NPP products, using new satellite data.

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© FAO   ::   Global Terrestrial Observing System - GTOS   ::   16 January 2005