Monitoring and Observation System

Lead Research Organisation: UK Ctr for Ecology & Hydrology fr 011219


Over the next five years CEH will deliver its strategy, Meeting the Challenges of Environmental Change, by Science Areas underpinned by Monitoring & Observation Systems and Environmental Informatics, through Business and Policy Innovation, and Public Engagement. Over the next five years CEH will deliver its strategy, Meeting the Challenges of Environmental Change, by Science Areas underpinned by Monitoring & Observation Systems and Environmental Informatics, through Business and Policy Innovation, and Public Engagement. Over the next five years CEH will deliver its strategy, Meeting the Challenges of Environmental Change, by Science Areas underpinned by Monitoring & Observation Systems and Environmental Informatics, through Business and Policy Innovation, and Public Engagement.


10 25 50
Description To determined at 'end of grant' in 2019
Exploitation Route To determined at 'end of grant' in 2019
Sectors Environment

Description CEH Science Area Annual Report: Monitoring and Observation Systems 1. Science Area Status Good progress has been made in enhancing the capacity to meet the UK's current needs for environmental data, and activities have been initiated towards integrating observations and models to enable evidence based forecasting and scenario testing, and developing systems for decision makers. The current focus of Science Area activities is to create "more integrated observing systems for joined-up decision making at local, national and international scales". These include activities that are either internal to CEH or with external stakeholders (e.g. partners in the UK and international observing community or users of data and information). 2. Research highlights 2.1 Highlight 1 - Enhancing capacity to meet the UK's current needs for environmental data CEH's track record of work with the UK monitoring community to deliver large-scale, long-term environmental datasets to meet research and policy needs is shown by two anniversary symposia: 50 years of the BRC and the ECN 20 year anniversary. Recent BRC activities include development of a grasshopper identification app, the EDF Energy funded "Big Bumblebee Discovery" project for schools for summer 2014, and delivery of a guidebook commissioned by SEPA: "Choosing and Using Citizen Science". The ECN symposium reviewed the use of outputs to inform policy issues (e.g. detecting reductions in acid rain), and identified novel future uses (e.g. monitoring woodland carbon stocks). CEH has added soil moisture sensors to its automated monitoring capabilities: the COsmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System UK (COSMOS-UK), delivers real-time weather monitoring and field scale measurements of soil moisture across the United Kingdom. This has the potential to transform hydro-meteorological modelling by providing real-time data for assimilation and model validation. Data can be accessed from CEH delivered a new web-based catalogue for the UK Environmental Observation Framework (EOF), a partnership, which will make it easier to access descriptions of over 1200 UK activities. CEH is now reviewing its own monitoring and observation activities, with the aim of planning strategically to deliver (by 2019) a multi-scale monitoring and observation system combining hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological measurements. These will be linked to models and tools, to detect and understand change, help decision-makers assess policy and resource management options, and respond rapidly to future demands. The system will build on CEH's existing capabilities, but will recognise that current fragmented approaches need to be developed and enhanced to deliver an integrated multi-disciplinary UK monitoring and observation system. CEH is working with NERC on a capital bid for an "Environmental Observing System" and associated "Research Innovation Centre". It will consist of 'an integrated sensing and analysis system for the UK environment, providing comprehensive co-ordinated measurements and analyses of sufficient accuracy and resolution to forecast environmental conditions'. This would build on current CEH capabilities to include satellite and remote sensing data, coastal, seafloor and water column observatories, and improved weather forecasting and real time air quality assessments. 2.2 Highlight 2 - Land Cover Mapping Over Time CEH's three national Land Cover Maps are widely used in research and by the public sector and by businesses (e.g. by Anglian Water in location and construction of new water treatment plants). CEH has now developed automated prototype system that will allow updates to be created as soon as new satellite images become available, rather than the current 7 - 10 year interval. 2.3 Highlight 3 - National Pollinator and Pollination Monitoring Scheme CEH is a partner in a Defra funded project to design and test a monitoring scheme to assess changes in the abundance, diversity and distribution of British pollinators and associated pollination services to crops. The project will build on existing professional and volunteer survey activities to provide a sampling framework with a fully tested and costed set of protocols. This will form the basis of a future National Pollinator and Pollination Monitoring Scheme. 2.3 Highlight 4 - Improving the UK's inventory of lakes and their catchments The UK Lakes Database is now managed by CEH, who are safeguarding its long-term viability and re-establishing public access. This digital inventory is the most comprehensive dataset of UK standing waters, and was used by the Environmental Agency for Water Framework Directive lake classification tools. CEH aims to improve the functionality of the database by linking it to other relevant datasets held by CEH, such as the National River Flow Archive, land cover maps, meteorological data and digital elevation data. This will enhance its usefulness to the general public, academia and government departments. 3. Ongoing developments In addition to developments indicated above, we will continue to rationalise CEH's approach to site based monitoring. As part of this process, we will establish a network of "flagship or sentinel sites" to enable understanding and forecasting of the impacts of climate change, land-use change and invasive species on local, national, regional and (in partnership) continental-scale ecology. A key development will be to link data from these sites to models to provide a consistent set of forecasts on ecosystem functions in relation to a set of standard "scenarios". We have been working with LWEC's Ecosystem Task Force to develop a "Monitoring Action Plan". This aims to co-ordinate and, as far as possible, support steps to operationalise existing activities and provide decision makers with the data and information necessary to implement the Ecosystem Approach. The plan will identify key monitoring series for natural capital, ecosystems, ecosystem services and biodiversity, advise on their maintenance and development and improve their accessibility to allow the development of integrated data, mapping and modelling platforms and decision support tools. We are working with Defra, its agencies and organizations in the devolved nations to establish the future requirements and delivery options for the surveillance of countryside ecosystems in the UK. EC funding will have a strong influence on our future international work. We now await the outcome of four Horizon 2020 infrastructure proposals which include CEH contributions to European projects on ecosystem observatories, arctic observatories, forest observatories and hydrobiological observatories. 4. 2016-17 highlights: Data, contributed by thousands of volunteers as part of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS - run by CEH), helped compare trends for 28 species in urban and rural areas with dramatic declines identified for the Small Copper and Small Heath butterflies. This is an example of a long-established citizen science monitoring scheme, and found that over a 20-year period urban butterfly abundance fell by 69 percent compared to a 45 percent decline for butterflies in rural areas. CEH's Woody Linear Features Framework describes the distribution of boundaries of hedges and lines of trees (woody linear features) in Great Britain. The dataset was derived from existing national datasets and created by a predictive model, which was developed by CEH. Professor Helen Roy, one of CEH's experts on invasion ecology contributed to a paper which highlights that the rise of alien species worldwide shows no sign of slowing down, and that globalisation could be fuelling an unprecedented increase in alien species. A new service assessing the risk of the presence of Japanese Knotweed near a property uses a model of the species occurrence and data from CEH and the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Property search company STL Group is offering the new free alert service when conducting residential searches for conveyancing purposes. 2017-18 developments & highlights Climate manipulation experiment receives new infrastructure CEH's long-term climate manipulation experiment in Wales was established in 1998 as part of a European climate change network. To date, the UK site has published more than 60 papers and more than 20 datasets. Japanese Knotweed and the property market Our datasets and risk model have also been incorporated into a 'hazard alert' for Japanese Knotweed, currently offered by the conveyancers STL, who first helped to identify the need for such a product. We are also working to license our datasets and risk model to other conveyancing search providers.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Energy,Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services