Scientific visualization of multi-temporal remotely-sensed data for monitoring drought-related famine conditions : nutritional, socio-economic & climatic vulnerability in Sudan's Gezira
Author(s)Rochon, Gilbert Leonard, 1946-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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This study addresses the design and deployment constraints and potential utility of an emerging analytical concept for planning adaptive response and mitigation of the regional impact of global climate change, within the context of a complex region in Sudan, with multiple biogenic and anthropogenic vulnerabilities. The specific conceptualization is referred to herein as the Temporal Analysis, Reconnaissance, and Decision Integration System (TARDIS). TARDIS is conceived as a composite planning tool, incorporating virtual temporal analysis, virtual spatial analysis, change detection for archival remotely-sensed data, trend extrapolation, generation of alternative future what-if scenarios and integration with both quantitative and rule-based decision-support. The rationale for developing the specifications for the TARDIS proof-of-concept is the observation that decisions concerning complex phenomena, involving multiple intractable problems, deserve to be made in an information-rich environment. Moreover, it is contended that such decisions could benefit both from an historical perspective and from the luxury of a comparative visualization of possible future outcomes of past trends, current policies and putative what-if constructs. The broad parameters for multi-variable factors affecting food security and the potentially significant regional impact of global climate change on Sudan's Gezira are presented. Also described are the potential contributions of the TARDIS in supporting planners and decision-makers, whose decisions might benefit from visualization of archival satellite data and from visualization of alternative future scenarios. I am primarily concerned with a triad of issues, in the order presented, and their interaction with one another: > FOOD SECURITY, WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO THE SUDAN > GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACT ON FOOD PRODUCING REGIONS, SUCH AS SUDAN'S GEZIRA > VISUALIZATION TECHNIQUES FOR TIME-SERIES SATELLITE DATA TO SUPPORT DECISION ANALYSIS, UNDER CONDITIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLEXITY, TYPIFIED BY THE SUDAN CASE STUDY Under this broad rubric, I seek to define a discrete area of concentration, namely, the articulation of design specifications for a proof-of-concept composite prototype decision support tool, incorporating scientific visualization of remotely sensed data. Although this tool potentially has generic applicability to decision-making and planning within diverse disciplines and geographic locations, the intended application, herein, is as a tool supporting decisions regarding future food security for Sudan's Gezira agricultural area, with specific reference to food crop, dhurra, (Sorghum bicolor) and cash crop, long staple cotton, (Gossypium Barakatensis) sustainability, under anticipated hotter and more arid climate conditions. The objective of applying this tool to the Sudanese context is to facilitate long-term planning and decision-making related to food security issues in the Gezira, given the climatological threat of future increased temperature and decreased precipitation. Accordingly, the first demonstration of the TARDIS proof-of-concept will be a simulated test run (STR) of data pertinent to Sudan's Gezira. The results of this STR will be evaluated in Chapter 4, and, based upon the outcome, recommendations for regional adaptive response are offered and refinements and modifications will be suggested to improve TARDIS utility and functionality. This research seeks to establish a role for state-of-the-science visualization of remotelysensed data, as a tool for planning adaptive responses to impending climatic change and to food insecurity. Moreover, the study hypothesizes that informed decision-making and policy formulation can be facilitated, through an analysis of the archival satellite and meteorological data for Sudan's Gezira, combined with an assessment of selected current conditions (e.g. civil war, political instability and international isolation, insect infestation in the irrigated agricultural schemes, prevalence of diseases such as schistosomiasis, malaria and cholera), and with an analysis of alternative future what-if scenarios. Potential vested constituents for such technology include various bi-lateral and multi-lateral entities with trade, aid or oversight relationships with Sudan. For purposes of this study, one such agency has been selected, namely, the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), a newly established umbrella entity within the United Nations, whose mission is "to provide policy makers, resource managers and researchers with the data they need to detect, quantify, locate and understand changes (especially reductions) in the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to support sustainable development." Accordingly, GTOS has been identified as a potential TARDIS enduser, under the proposed auspices of the prototypical joint Food and Agricultural Organizattion (FAO)/ World Food Programme (WFP) annual Crop Survey and Nutritional Needs Assessment Mission to Sudan.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 1999.Vita.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 186-202).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.