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There is a clear need for information on global and regional change in coastal areas bordering the world's large water bodies. 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. To address this need, the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) has developed a coastal module in collaboration with the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), and in combination with the overarching coastal activities of the Integrated Global Observing System (IGOS) and Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

The primary goal of the Coastal Module of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (C-GTOS) is to detect, assess and predict global and large-scale regional change associated with land-based, wetland and freshwater ecosystems along the coast. The approach taken to developing C-GTOS is twofold: a long-term strategic design towards a mature integrated coastal observing system, and the development of a series of five well-defined, priority products achievable in the short term. The mature system focuses on: (i) human dimensions, land use, land cover and critical habitat alteration; (ii) sediment loss and delivery; (iii) water cycle and water quality, and (iv) effects of sea level change, storms and flooding. The five priority products provide proof of concept and help build the mature system.

This document presents the strategy developed by the GTOS coastal panel of scientific experts to establish C-GTOS. The first sections of the document describe the design for a mature observing system and contributions to global observation needs. In the sections following, further details are provided on the five products that implement this strategy during the initial phase of the programme and a discussion of milestones for development of a mature system.

Coastal GTOS Strategic design and phase 1 implementation plan

By Christian, R.R., Baird, D., Bowen, R.E., Clark, D.M., de Mora, S., DiGiacomo, P.M., Jiménez, J., Kineman, J., Mazzilli, S., Servin G., Talaue-McManus, L, Viaroli, P. & Yap H.

104 pages, 10 figures, 19 tables

Environment and Natural Resources Service Series, No. 9 FAO, Rome, 2005 GTOS Report No. 36


Coast; coastal; observing system; environmental management; global change; United Nations; Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Sites

This series replaces the following:

Environment and Energy Series, Remote Sensing Centre Series, Agrometeorology Working Paper

A list of documents published in the above series and other information can be found at the Web site:

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