FIGURE 7.3 Between 1993 and 1995, an outbreak of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) claimed the lives of more than 45 people in the southwestern United States. The 1991–1992 El Niño had brought unusually high precipitation to the Four Corners region in 1992, which led to an increase in vegetation and a hypothesized increase in the rodent population that carried the hantavirus. Based on Landsat ETM+ satellite imagery, this map of the American Southwest shows the predicted risk of HPS in 1993. Red and yellow indicate high-risk areas, and dark blue indicates low-risk areas. SOURCE: Glass et al., 2000. Courtesy of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

designed to be comprehensive in the sense that they measure various quantities for detecting changes in ecosystem structure and dynamics, they focus on rigorous detection of effects related to the carbon cycle, the water cycle, the productivity and management of ecological communities, and habitat characteristics. The focus in this set of missions is on terrestrial and coastal marine regions where human effects and natural-resource extraction are concentrated, as well as the open ocean, where the effects are profound but less obvious to society.

The panel’s recommended space-based observations require a mix of techniques. Some quantities can be directly estimated from radiances above the atmosphere with physical techniques; examples are the hyperspectral measurement of leaf water content and phytoplankton fluorescence and the altimetric

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