Scientists from the University of Maryland and Beijing Normal University are partnering to track and predict the impact of climate change internationally.
When fully developed, the project will provide monitoring and predictive tools that can help, for example, predict crop failure and changes in commodity prices, and aid in preparations for shortages, organizers say.
At the University of Maryland today, officials from both institutions and representatives from the Chinese government officially launched the new Joint Center on Global Change and Earth System Science, which will conduct the research.
Creation of an international remote sensing database will be one of the new center's first projects, and the interdisciplinary work will take place in both countries. In addition to monitoring agriculture, it will also track land use and land cover.
When coupled with predictive modeling techniques, the remote sensing database can produce a range of useful tools to assist in planning for climate changes, the project organizers emphasize.
"International cooperation is the path forward on global-scale challenges such as climate change," says University of Maryland President Wallace Loh, who secured support for the new center when he visited China last year with Governor Martin O'Malley.
"The combination of our joint expertise and resources in this new center will allow us to address these important challenges with much greater sophistication and impact," Loh adds. "These scientists have worked together for years now, and this new collaboration represents the maturing of that relationship. I'm confident their work will benefit our state, both nations and the international community."
The new center directly results from Loh's visit to China last year when he met with top government figures in science and academia.
At Beijing Normal, the center's research will be coordinated by the College of Global Change and Earth System Science.