Taiga is the name of the world’s largest biome – a vast circumpolar region south of the tundra zone in the northern hemisphere. Also known as the Boreal Forest, the Taiga is predominantly covered by coniferous forest, and commonly marked with poorly drained glacial depressions that form bogs (muskeg). We chose the name Taiga for Release 16 of the IDRISI system because it is emblematic of the risk we are now facing from climate change. Present trends exhibit a rate of temperature increase that exceeds the ability of the forest to adapt by relocation. The Taiga is thus on the frontline of the impact of climate change.
A major scientific and political problem in the climate change debate has been the lack of reliable observational data that could allay the criticisms of skeptics and opportunists. That era is now over. We are witnessing an explosion of earth observation data of an unprecedented quality. However, these data don’t reveal their gold easily. There are numerous distractions and contaminants such as clouds and unwanted sources of noise and variability.
With this release, we introduce the Earth Trends Modeler – the culmination of three years of intense research and development funded, in part, by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Google.org. The Earth Trends Modeler, like the previously developed Land Change Modeler, is another vertical application within IDRISI also directed to the major issues of human/environment relations. The Earth Trends Modeler is focused on the dynamics of the earth system and the problem of extracting information about its nature and evolution. It therefore lies at the forefront of what might be called Earth System Information Science.
This version is dedicated to the world-wide community of visionary earth system and remote sensing scientists who conceived of and developed the extraordinary constellation of satellite platforms, instruments and primary processing algorithms that now form our new earth observing system. Our task now is to build upon that base.