Integrated Land-Ecosystem Atmosphere Process Study (iLEAPS)

Lead Research Organisation: NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Department Name: Hydro-climate Risks

Abstract

Future Earth is a major global research programme, which evolved from previous international programmes on human development, climate change, global environmental change and biodiversity. The integrated Land Ecosystem Atmosphere Process Study (iLEAPS) is a core project of Future Earth.

As humans are now one of the strongest influences on climate and the environment, this second phase of iLEAPS (2014- 2024) is moving from research on natural pristine environments to investigating the interactions between natural and human environments. The project will also investigate the complex set of interactions that exist between the climate system, atmospheric composition/air quality, land use and land cover changes, socioeconomic development, and human decision-making. The research will provide information of relevance to the 8 key focal challenges identified by Future Earth in its 2014 Strategic Research Agenda:
1. Deliver water, energy and food for all.
2. Decarbonize socio-economic systems to stabilize the climate
3. Safeguard the terrestrial, freshwater and marine natural assets
4. Build healthy, resilient and productive cities
5. Promote sustainable rural futures to feed rising and more affluent populations
6. Improve human health through the improvement of human-environment interactions
7. Encourage sustainable and equitable consumption and production patterns
8. Increase social resilience to future threats

iLEAPS acts as a communication hub and coordinator of world-wide scientific research in the field of ecosystem-atmosphere exchanges and the impact of those exchanges on the 8 societal challenges.

iLEAPS promotes scientific excellence through developing international science initiatives that are multi-disciplinary, through bringing together the modelling community with satellite, experimental and field observational experts and through enabling communication and networking across the international science community.

iLEAPS promotes leadership in science through capacity building in developing countries and support to young or Early Career scientists by hosting workshops, ensuring timely and relevant science to be available through their website and through training programmes.

The NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) is taking over the iLEAPS International Project Office during 2016. CEH will undertake the activities below to enhance the impact of the iLEAPS project:

1 .IPO Operation and Co-ordination Activities
* Work with the iLEAPS Scientific Steering Committee to deliver the iLEAPS Science Plan and Priority Research Topics
* Maintain and enhance connections with relevant international projects, regional and national iLEAPS offices, providing advocacy and enlisting wide international participation
* Promote capacity building through support of the Early Career Scientist network and supporting workshops and regional networks in the developing world
* Work with Future Earth through national and international committees to deliver their vision
* Secure additional funding to support these activities

2. Communication
* Maintain and co-ordinate input to the iLEAPS website
* Host, support and fund workshops and conferences

3. Science leadership
* Start new, and maintain existing, Science Initiatives and Projects

4. Science Products
* Generate integrated products for the world-wide community
* Create new analysis tools for analysing data from experimental and field observations, satellites and computer models

Planned Impact

1. Policy makers

As climate change, population and pollution puts pressure on resources, policies on environmental issues are increasingly having an impact on development and economic progress. Further, there is a growing recognition for human life to be healthy and not adversely affected by for example agriculture, industry, transport and infrastructure.

It is essential that scientific research provides the evidence relevant for these issues (health, resources, biodiversity and climate change) and this is made most effectively at an international level. The iLEAPS IPO ensures good networking across scientists across all continents. This enables excellent science to be shared as quickly as possible, with a consistent framework for dialogue with local, regional and international policy makers world-wide.

The timescale of the benefit is in the medium term. Policy makers require robust evidence before making their decisions, and the iLEAPS IPO role is only indirect by increasing the robustness of the evidence.

2. Public.

The science represented by iLEAPS is relevant and important to many individuals who don't normally see themselves as 'scientists'. For instance, significant coverage is given in the media on local issues about farming practices and air quality to more remote questions about the vulnerability of the Amazon rainforest and the Arctic to changes in the climate. In addition, policies that affect these issues are made by democratically elected representatives in governments and inter-governmental agencies across the world. The tension between economic advancement and environmental protection is now being debated at all levels of society.

An increased understanding and trust by the public of the science behind the headlines would benefit the effectiveness of public services and policy by increasing the level of rationality when voting on these crucial decisions.

The timescale of the benefits range from a few years (if people had more information about the science behind certain policies then they might vote in a certain way) to very long (by encouraging science to be part of our culture and way of life rather than just for 'scientists', then society may evolve to be more informed on these major societal challenges).

3. Researchers in Developing Countries

It is increasingly possible to share the scientific resources available in the developed world with a wider network of scientists throughout the world, including developing countries. The internet, the availability of free global datasets, the use of 'Big Data' and massive computers on the cloud enables everyone access to a huge resource.

If students and researchers at universities around the world are enabled to use these resources, their ability to define and control their own research agenda would be enhanced. The scientists would be able to join the international debate on important science issues, thus potentially reducing the brain-drain effect of well-educated, influential scientists leaving the developing countries.

The iLEAPS IPO would enable this networking and information flow. This benefit could be realised in the short term, by increasing the communication and networking with the relevant universities and schools.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description iLEAPS is a communication hub and coordinator of world-wide scientific research in the field of ecosystem-atmosphere exchanges and the impact of those exchanges on key societal issues. As part of Future Earth, iLEAPS is a network to link iLEAPS scientists to key societal challenges related to Health, Biodiversity, Climate, Food and Fuel security and ultimately the United Nations' sustainable development goals.

In September 2017, CEH organised the fifth iLEAPS Open Science Conference in Oxford (https://ileaps.org/sites/default/files/eNewsletter_01_iLEAPS_Conference_20171106.pdf). A total of 273 delegates attended the conference from 36 countries. An Early Career Scientist workshop was held over the weekend preceding the iLEAPS conference (see Engagement section). The workshop focussed on developing communication skills in science and was attended by 32 Early Career Scientists from around the world.

In November 2018, iLEAPS sponsored a capacity-building workshop "Developing South African capacity in eddy covariance data and analysis", specifically for Early Career Researchers in Southern Africa (see Engagement section). This 2-day workshop, which was held in Pretoria, South Africa in November 2018, introduced the workshop attendees to how eddy-covariance flux measurements are made, processed and analysed. Members of the iLEAPS Scientific Steering Committee organised and ran the breakout sessions.
Exploitation Route During 2018, the iLEAPS project office at CEH has been working with the British Science Association to develop an educational resource for schools on iLEAPS-related science topics. The education pack will be launched during 2019.
Sectors Education,Environment

 
Description Towards society-relevant indicators derived from climate and surface event detection
Amount € 12,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 04/2019 
End 12/2019
 
Description Development of Educational Resource with British Science Association 
Organisation British Science Association
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution The iLEAPS project office at CEH identified potential iLEAPS-related research topics that could be considered for use in schools.
Collaborator Contribution The British Science Association selected specific reseach topics and developed these into an into an educational activity for use in secondary schools, under the theme of 'Future Climate in your local area'. The completion of the activity by school students will lead to a CREST silver award. The British Science Association will prepare and market the education promotion pack at British Science Week.
Impact Education pack in will be released at the British Science Week later in 2019.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Developing South African capacity in eddy covariance data and analysis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact iLEAPS sponsored a capacity-building workshop "Developing South African capacity in eddy covariance data and analysis", specifically for Early Career Researchers in Southern Africa. This 2-day workshop, which was held in Pretoria, South Africa in November 2018, introduced the workshop attendees to how eddy-covariance flux measurements are made, processed and analysed. Members of the iLEAPS Scientific Steering Committee organised and ran the breakout sessions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Early Career Scientists Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 20 Early Career Scientists engaged in a 'Communicating your science' workshop. The participants came from countries from: Africa, Asia, South America, North America and Europe. The workshop lasted two days and included exercises on writing and presenting their science. The participants then gave a small presentation about the workshop and what they had learnt to the larger full iLEAPS science conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017