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On scales and dynamics in observing the environment

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Natural and anthropogenic processes at the Earth's surface operate at a range of spatial and temporal scales. Different scales of observation are required to match the spatial scales of the processes under observation. At the same time, the temporal sampling rate of the observing systems must be reconciled with the dynamics of the processes observed. Bringing together these issues requires insight, innovation and, inevitably, compromise. This paper reviews spatial and temporal considerations in remote sensing and introduces the papers in this Special Issue on ‘Scales and Dynamics in Observing the Environment'. The review comprises three main sections. The first section focuses on spatial variability in remote sensing, while the second section focuses on temporal variability in remote sensing. The third section links these two issues, focusing on the interplay of space and time in remote sensing. The review is primarily theoretical, explaining spatial and temporal properties of remote sensing and remotely sensed phenomena. Where appropriate, however, practical examples are included to demonstrate how remote sensing is used in environmental applications. Following the review, the papers included in the Special Issue are introduced, outlining their significance in the context of ‘Scales and Dynamics in Observing the Environment'.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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