The Azimuth Project


Remote sensing allows to make databases of the earth’s surface.

Some maps

This database provides a climatology of biophysical variables required for land surface modeling at 1/120° GSD and a monthly time step, in a Plate Carrée projection. ECOCLIMAP is based on a global classification into 15 main surface classes derived from the combination of several land cover maps and a world climate distribution.

See e.g.

Ecoclimap, a new complete surface parameter global dataset at a 1-km resolution, is presented. It is intended to be used to initialize the soil–vegetation–atmosphere transfer schemes (SVATs) in meteorological and climate models (at all horizontal scales). The database supports the ‘‘tile’’ approach, which is utilized by an increasing number of SVATs. Two hundred and fifteen ecosystems representing areas of homogeneous vegetation are derived by combining existing land cover maps and climate maps, in addition to using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite data. Then, all surface parameters are derived for each of these ecosystems using lookup tables with the annual cycle of the leaf area index (LAI) being constrained by the AVHRR information. The resulting LAI is validated against a large amount of in situ ground observations, and it is also compared to LAI derived from the International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project (ISLSCP-2) database and the Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectance (POLDER) satellite. The comparison shows that this new LAI both reproduces values coherent at large scales with other datasets, and includes the high spatial variations owing to the input land cover data at a 1-km resolution. In terms of climate modeling studies, the use of this new database is shown to improve the surface climatology of the ARPEGE climate model.

For finer resolution, see e.g.:

category: earth science