OSR : mission and definitions

Mission of the OSR

The Observatoire spatial régional (OSR – Regional Space Observatory) is in charge of highlighting the effects of climate change and growing human pressure (due to land management policies) on the fundamental mechanisms of the functioning of continental surfaces, as well as their possible evolutions at various space and time scales.

The powerful observation strategy of the OSR is based on a multi-scale (from a few square meters to several hundred square kilometers) and multidisciplinary long-term monitoring system, specifically set up for the scientific needs of the project. This system provides observation data arising from (1) continuous measurement on experimental plots, surveys and field observation campaigns, (2) multi-sensor and multi-resolution remote sensing data (e.g. FORMOSAT2, SMOS, Sentinel 1 & 2, Venµs) and (3) from derived products. The data organization and dissemination rely on the development of an Environmental Information System (EIS = SIE Système d’Informations Environnemental).

Besides inventory aspects, characterizing the evolution of surfaces (reflectance, temperature…) allows the development of processing algorithms to create maps of space occupancy and maps of biophysical parameters (eg. Green Area Index maps, surface moisture …). These remote sensing products are used as inputs to spatialized models of surface processes (energy, water, carbon, vegetation). These models are developed by CESBIO and other laboratories in order to meet societal expectations in the global change context.

The OSR and its modeling work clearly prove the potential of the remote sensing system to monitor continental surface functioning, to determine water, carbon and greenhouse gases flows and balances on a regional scale or beyond, supporting a sustainable use of resources.


Why O. S. R.?

Observatory (O): the term observatory refers to a long time scale and to the means of observation. The SRO aims to document and take into account aspects of global change, climate and anthropogenic pressure. This implies long-term (at least 10 years) and continuous monitoring. The means of observation combine field monitoring, spatial monitoring (in particular remote sensing) and analysis and modeling tools. The dissemination of information from the observatory aims at long-term availability (archiving, format, etc.).

Spatial (S): the OSR aims to take into account spatially explicit processes on territories. « Spatial » thus has a double meaning: the geographical and territorial aspect on the one hand and the specific use of spatial means of observation (remote sensing) on the other.

Regional (R): the OSR aims to study the functioning of continental surfaces, with the particularity of the regional dimension, i.e. from landscape to regional scales. The measurement system follows a nested approach: highly instrumented and intensively monitored plots, small region with fine monitoring, large region monitored and documented with less experimental data.