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Suggested Citation:"LIST, Lidar Surface Topography ." National Research Council. 2008. Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11952.
Page 20

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Earth Science and Applications from Space 20 LIST Lidar Surface Topography Launch: 2016–2020 Mission size: Medium Orbit: LEO, SSO Agency: NASA Estimated cost: $300 million Areas of interest: Health, Solid Earth Instruments: Laser altimeter Benefits: Quantified assessment of wildfire risk Monitoring of changes due to land use and land management Predictions of the likelihood of volcanic eruptions and landslides Until recently, the coarse resolution of topographic mapping has been a major impediment to understanding the forces and processes that shape Earth’s surface. Although airborne lidar is useful for surveying small areas, a space-based sensor is es- sential for worldwide mapping. Global topographic data are now available at 30- to 90-meter hori- zontal resolution, with a vertical pre- cision of about 10 meters. Much better data are needed in order to predict the location and timing of landslides, floods, tsunami run-ups, and lava and mud flows. Using laser altimetry, LIST will carry out the most precise global topo- graphic survey to date, with a resolution of 5 meters and a preci- sion in the tenths of meters. This will permit mapping of land- slide, earthquake, and flood hazards at a small enough scale to be useful for site-specific land use decisions as well as research. Observations from LIST will help scientists find active faults, map the global loss of topsoil, and detect signs of potential volcanic activity. Global measurements of vegetation height will advance studies of forest and land-cover dynamics and allow quantitative assessment of wildfire risk.

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Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade Get This Book
 Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade
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Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade brings the next ten years into focus for the Earth and environmental science community with a prioritized agenda of space programs, missions, and supporting activities that will best serve scientists in the next decade. These missions will address a broad range of societal needs, such as more reliable weather forecasts, early earthquake warnings, and improved pollution management, benefiting both scientific discovery and the health and well-being of society.

Based on the 2007 book, Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond, this book explores each of the seventeen recommended missions in detail, identifying launch dates, responsible agencies, estimated cost, scientific and public benefits, and more. Printed entirely in color, the book features rich photographs and illustrations, tables, and graphs that will keep the attention of scientists and non-scientists alike.


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